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Gas prices break Labor Day record, some relief on the way

Paying more at the pump

LA QUINTA, Calif. - Many drivers heading home from their Labor Day weekend getaway are suffering from a little fill-up remorse at the gas pumps.

"It's terrible. We're just out here for the weekend to get away from Arizona to go to the beach. It's $100 just to fill up," said Tim Christians on his way home to Phoenix.

Gas prices reached a record high this holiday. The national average price for a gallon of regular is $4.14, which erases the previous Labor Day record of $3.93 set last year.

You can blame Hurricane Isaac. The storm didn't damage any refineries or rigs in the Gulf, but most of them had to be shut down in anticipation. On top of that, recent fires at oil refineries also hurt supply -- driving up prices of both oil and gas.

The all-time record in Riverside and San Bernardino counties is $4.614 set on June 22, 2008 when investors were bidding up the price for crude oil to a record high as the dollar was declining in value.

The average price rose one-tenth of a cent Monday, the 11th consecutive daily increase, and is 2.9 cents more than a week ago, 32.3 cents higher than one month ago and 23.4 cents greater than one year ago, according to figures from the AAA and Oil Price Information Service.

The average price has risen 4.5 cents during the streak of increases, including two-tenths of a cent on Sunday, and is at its highest amount since June 7.

To cope with the rise, Sandra Pratt says she and her twin sister Sharon, "Take turns driving. She drives one day and I drive another. It helps us save."

"It's definitely high. It's scaring me. Maybe I'll have to ride the bus," said Mike Pinon, of La Quinta.

However, you don't have to trade in your car keys for a bus pass just yet. Analysts expect some relief in the weeks ahead as we switch from the summer blend to the cheaper winter blend gasoline.

For the Christians, they say paying for record-high prices is well worth their last family trip of the summer.

"It's outrageous, but you've got to do what you've got to do to make the family happy," said Tim.

The gas tracker, Gasbuddy, says relief won't come overnight but we should expect to see a noticeable drop in prices by mid-September.

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