Five dollar gas is back — and it hurts

Bought gas recently? If you have, that sharp pain you felt shooting through your body was the feeling of cash being ripped from your pocket at an alarming rate.

Gas prices in California — never low to begin with — have rocketed close to a new statewide record, cresting at $4.59 on Friday. 2008’s record of $4.61 seems likely to fall.

A power outage at a Southern California refinery supposedly created wholesale shortages and a price surge. But California’s fragile energy markets — so ripe for price manipulation and profiteering in the past — leave this spike smelling awfully familiar.

Meanwhile, at a seedy corner gas station near you, don’t be shocked to find prices well above $5 per gallon, especially for premium grades.

This weekend’s Celestial Convergence of Major Events prompted some San Francisco outlets to boost their prices even further into the stratosphere.

R C gasoline at Castro and Market — often among The City’s cheapest gas stations — had posted prices at or above $5 a gallon as of Thursday evening.

The Chevron station across the street — separated, of course, by an impossible gauntlet of illegal left turns and streams of pedestrians — offered prices at least 25 cents lower.

Throughout the Bay Area, gas prices have jumped 30 to 40 cents per gallon in just the last week. Down south, some Costco gas stations shut down after running out of fuel.

The AP reports gas prices are expected to ease next week after the affected refinery in Torrance came back online Friday.