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Bay Area Motorists Suffering From Gas Pump Sticker Shock As Prices Continue To Soar

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Typically, around the holidays, gas prices fall, but not this year.

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in California set a new record this weekend while millions were hitting the road to return home from Thanksgiving celebrations.

AAA reported the price of gallon inched up to $4.71 a gallon. The prices were even higher in the Bay Area.

The travel agency reported the average price on Sunday in San Jose was $4.79 a gallon. In Oakland the cost was $4.78 a gallon while it was $4.88 in San Francisco, $4.87 in San Rafael and $4.88 up in wine country.

The cheapest price was in Vallejo with an average of $4.70 a gallon. Overall, Bay Area drivers were paying about $1.50 more per gallon compared to last Thanksgiving.

Oil experts say the tight supply and huge demand are driving up prices. The other problem is California has the highest gas taxes in the country at 85 cents for every gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

UC Berkeley energy expert, Severin Bornstein, said adjusted for inflation, gasoline was much more expensive back in 2008 and 2012. The average price in California was $4.60 a gallon in June 2008 and $4.67 in October 2012.

He pointed out that $5 back then could buy you a lot more than what $5 can buy you today. He said it's about putting things in perspective.

GasBuddy Analyst Patrick DeHaan says several factors are in play.

"Consistently keeping California high, it has the nation's highest gasoline taxes," he said. "It has it's own blend of gasoline. And California's a bit of an island. That means it's disconnected from the rest of the country in terms of infrastructure like pipelines."

AAA researchers said prices in the Bay Area will likely stay in the mid $4 range this year. Oil experts believed drivers should see bigger price drops by early next year.

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