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Lawmakers Examine High Gas Prices

State officials say California must find ways to get more gasoline and diesel products into the state or it will remain susceptible to higher gas prices.

State Attorney General Bill Lockyer was among those who attended a hearing on gas prices Thursday in Los Angeles.

He says the state´s refineries currently churn out just enough gasoline to cover demand. But he says oil companies don´t keep large enough inventories on hand to weather short-term supply problems that can arise. That triggers shortages that drive prices higher.

Several factors cause California gasoline to be more expensive than other parts of the country, including the costs associated with meeting the state´s environmental standards. Higher taxes and too few refineries to handle the state´s demand also drive up prices.