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Gas prices still brutal

Josh Kleinbaum

Like most who are tired of being taken at the pump, Glen Yamashiro

was singing the blues.

At a Unocal 76 station on Victory Boulevard, Glen Yamashiro was

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putting $20 worth of gas into his 4Runner.

“I have no choice,” said Yamashiro, a loan officer who must drive

for his job. “I don’t bother filling it up [all the way] any more.

Twenty dollars is probably half a tank. [The prices are] still going

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up.”

A downed pipeline in Arizona and problems at six of the 22 gas

refineries in California have led to the spike in gas prices,

according to Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the Auto Club of

Southern California, which tracks regional gas prices and problems.

“Speculation and profiteering is going on too, there’s no two ways

about that,” Spring said.

Spring said the average gas price in Southern California on Monday

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was $2.07, up 40 cents from Aug. 8, when this spike began.

“The bright side is, the refineries are getting up and running,

and the pipeline was open [Sunday],” Spring said. “They say it’ll

take a few weeks for all storage tanks to get back up to speed in

Phoenix, but it’s happening.”

Every day, Jean Sehic makes the commute from Canyon Country to Jet

Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, 40 miles with some

uphill driving each way.

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During the past three weeks, those hills have gotten steeper, or

at least more expensive.

Tuesday morning, Sehic pumped a small fortune into her Volkswagen

Golf at the Chevron station on Foothill Boulevard in La Canada

Flintridge. Unleaded gas cost $2.15 a gallon, the peak of a

three-week climb that has put the pinch on wallets.

“It’s totally insane,” Sehic said. “I can’t take Metrolink because

it would take too much time.”

La Canada Flintridge resident Steve Buttgenbach was resigned to

paying $18 for just a half-tank of gas for his Toyota 4Runner.

Buttgenbach has been driving back and forth between his home and Del

Mar for work.

“Naturally, nobody likes [the higher prices],” Buttgenbach said.

“But I guess we’re better off than the folks in Phoenix.”

According to Spring, price relief isn’t far off. After the Labor

Day travel rush, prices should start dropping.

“Typically, it goes up like a rocket and down like a feather,”

Spring said.

Reporter Darleene Barrientos contributed to this report.


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