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The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County recorded its largest increase since March 9 today, rising 11.6 cents to $5.90, its highest amount since July 16.

The average price has risen 11 consecutive days and 24 of the past 25 days, increasing 67.8 cents, including 3.6 cents Monday, according to figures from the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. It is 48.5 cents more than one week ago, 65 cents higher than one month ago and $1.549 greater than one year ago.

Despite the current run of increases, the average price has dropped 47.3 cents since rising to the record $6.373 June 15.

"A string of planned and unplanned refinery maintenance issues has severely tightened fuel supply in California,'' said Doug Shupe, the Automobile Club of Southern California's corporate communications manager. "West Coast fuel inventories are at the lowest level in about a decade according to Energy
Information Administration.

"Until the refineries are fully operational again, supply is going to be tight and will cause pump to be volatile.'' There may be "some relief'' in November when stations are again allowed to sell winter-blend gas which is cheaper to produce, Shupe told City News Service.

The national average price rose for the seventh consecutive day following a 98-day streak of decreases totaling $1.342, increasing 2.2 cents to $3.747. It has risen 7.3 cents over the past seven days, including 1.1 cents Monday.

The national average price is 11 cents less than one month ago and 55.8 cents more than one year ago. It has dropped $1.269 since rising to a record $5.016 June 14.

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