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Gasoline Prices En Route to Record Year in California

Despite decreases, Santa Barbara is still home to the highest prices in the nation

Although gas prices have been decreasing throughout California during the past four weeks, 2011 is still on a record-setting pace, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Gas prices will have to average $2.44 a gallon for the rest of the year for the average to drop below the California annual record of $3.52 reached in 2008, Auto Club spokesman Jeffrey Spring said.

“Even with these price declines, 2011 is on track to become the record overall year for gas prices, despite the fact that we never got near the all-time record $4.60 pump prices of 2008,” he said. “The year-to-date average price motorists have paid in California is $3.84 a gallon for regular unleaded.”

Santa Barbara is home to the highest prices in the nation, averaging $3.929 a gallon Thursday, down 2 cents from last week, according to GasBuddy.com. The average is down 8.1 cents from this time last month but up 82.6 cents year-to-date. The national average is $3.425 and $3.795 statewide.

Many motorists have been forced to change their driving habits, which Spring said has been a driving force behind the recent drops in price.

While nine local gas stations feature unleaded prices at $3.79, Santa Barbara residents can find gas for as little as $3.59 at Educated Car Wash at 3735 State St. The next cheapest gas is at the 76 at 4401 Via Real at $3.67, the Arco at 3618 State St. at $3.67 and Conserv Fuel at 150 S. La Cumbre Road at $3.69.

Drivers can also find gas at $3.69 at the Arco at 1116 Casitas Pass Road, and at $3.77 at USA Gasoline at 340 W. Carrillo St.

The least expensive diesel fuel is at the Shell at 5097 Hollister Ave. at $4.05.

The most expensive stations are Mobil at 49 Glen Annie Road and Chevron at 6895 Hollister Ave. at $4.49.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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