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California Gas Prices Force Some Station Owners to Shut Pumps

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Soaring gas prices across California have forced some station owners to shut off their pumps while people change their driving habits or, in some cases, avoid driving all together.

A gallon of regular gas was $5.69 Thursday in Calabasas, while a gallon of super cost $5.89 with cash and $5.99 with credit.  Such prices are causing pain at the pump for many drivers who might see an 11-cent increase by later Friday morning, which means some could be paying more than $6 a gallon.

The high price of gas is simply not worth it for some mostly independent gas station owners who'd rather stop selling gas and ride out the prices that cut too deeply into their profit margins.

Low-P station owner Tanya Barkhordar hopes the customers don't blame her for the price hike.

"This is what I love," said Barkhordar, who's open for business after closing for a day because she couldn't get gasoline from a refinery.  "We're sorry it's not our fault.  We have no choice."

Recent refinery fires in the state and pipeline problems are the culprits behind the high prices that are causing California reserves to hit a 10-year low.

The national average is up to $3.78 per gallon, but prices are topping $4 a gallon in many states.  In Washington State, residents are faced with an average price of $4.03.  In the Northeast, those living in New York and Connecticut are paying an average of $4.10.

No one is feeling it worse than those in California though, where gas is up 45 cents from a year ago.

"This is the worst it's ever been," Barkhordar said.  "These are the highest gas prices we've ever had."

Analysts predict that relief is in sight and prices will bottom out near $3.50 a gallon by Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest times for traveling.

"It's a really terrible week for gas prices and the worst week we have ever had in October that I can remember," Marie Montgomery of the Automobile Club of Southern California said.

ABC News affiliate KABC-TV and Survey USA conducted a poll that found 47 percent of people were driving less and 17 percent were eating out less so they can afford the expensive gasoline.  For the elderly on a fixed income, it's a dire situation.

"We only go out when we have to," Marilyn Sklar told KABC.  "We only use the gas when we have to go and do our errands and that's it.  It's a terrible situation when you're on a fixed income."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio