POSTED: Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 4:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — As Californians cope with soaring gas prices, some San Diegans are trying to get the best deal they can even if it means leaving the country.
The average price of gasoline jumped nearly 50 cents in the past week with drivers, consumer watchdog groups and politicians crying foul.
After setting a state record Monday, the increases in the price of gas may be slowing.
The AAA's Fuel Gauge Report released Tuesday shows the average price of regular jumped only a fraction of a cent overnight to a bit over $4.67 a gallon.
With signs spotted around San Diego asking more than $5 for a gallon of gas, some drivers are heading south of the border to find a bargain.
"I don't buy gas in the U.S. anymore I'll buy it in Mexico," said one Chula Vista resident.
One driver, who identified himself only as "Joe," has a Hummer, an Expedition, an Excursion and a BMW, so he says he has no choice but to find the cheapest gas.
Images taken at a gas station in Tijuana show a gallon of regular gas priced at about $3.30 USD.
"Every time I fill my tank I'm saving probably $30 a tank at least," Joe said.
While others may say it's not worth the hassle because it can take hours to cross the border there may be other benefits to paying the price for gas in the U.S.
Tijuana resident Eduardo Pinto crosses the U.S.-Mexico border to buy more expensive gas in San Diego County simply because he believes quality is more important than price.
"The gas in Mexico is cheaper but it is bad," Pinto said. "Here in the U.S. it's expensive but it's better."
The price of gasoline Tuesday was still the highest price in the nation and an all-time high for the Golden State.
The highest average price in the state, at $4.75, is in the San Luis Obispo, Atascadero and Paso Robles area.
San Diego is $4.72 a gallon and the Los Angeles area about $4.71.
Officials say they expect prices to fall after the governor ordered the release of a dirtier blend of gasoline to help slash record-high pump prices, but they say it could take a few days depending on how quickly refineries can get the so-called "winter-blend" fuel to market.
California usually converts to the gas on October 31.
The fuel evaporates in heat more quickly than summer-blends.
A fuel's evaporation rate indicates how much raw fuel enters the environment, especially in warm weather.
State air pollution regulators say they don't expect the air quality to worsen much.
The Air Resources Board says the last time the state made an early shift to so-called "winter-blend" gas was in 2005, in response to supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina.