(Newsroom America) -- Residents of southern California awoke to record high gasoline prices Friday, as a number of stations began rationing fuel in response to tight inventories caused by a series of refinery disruptions in recent weeks.
Prices at stations that remained open topped $5 a gallon for regular gasoline, as drivers complained about cost and long lines.
"What are they doing to us?" said Marilyn Tucker, a FedEx employee, as she stopped pumping at a central Los Angeles gas station at $37, well before the tank of her sedan was full, The New York Times reported. "It's just ridiculous."
Supplies of refined products are at their lowest level on the West Coast since 2008, reports said. On Friday, Californians paid an average of $4.49 a gallon.
Average prices around the country have only risen by about a penny are are hovering around $3.80 a gallon for regular gas, according to price-tracking website Gasbuddy.com.
The immediate problem in California was a power failure at an Exxon Mobil plant at its Torrence, Calif., refinery, which produces about 150,000 gallons of fuel per day.
Energy analysts say the larger problem is that while oil supplies have generally been above average around the country, the U.S. is losing refining capacity and hasn't built a new plant in decades.
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