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State Probes High Gas Prices

State lawmakers say they will probe what is behind California´s high gas prices after an increase in the average price of self-serve regular soared to a new high of nearly $2.70 per gallon.

Officials announced yesterday the new Senate Select Committee on Gasoline and Diesel Pricing will launch an investigation patterned after the inquiry into manipulation of California´s energy market in 2000 and 2001.

Democratic state Senator Joe Dunn of Santa Ana says he intends to show that oil companies have deliberately contributed to California´s precarious supply-and-demand situation.

The statewide average price of self-serve regular has jumped 4.6 cents in the last week. Nationwide the average cost of gasoline rose 7.6 cents to more than $2 a gallon.