Kathleen Waller usually stops at the V and A Fuels on the way to pick up her kids from school, but she was stunned to find unleaded going for $8.87 a gallon at the Washington Boulevard station Tuesday.
Super was going for $9.09 a gallon.
"I'm shocked," said Waller. "I thought it was a joke."
No joke, according to an attendant manning the station Tuesday afternoon. She had no explanation for why the price had been raised, only that the price hike came Tuesday morning.
She also declined to provide contact information for the station's owner. But she did say that some people had indeed purchased gas at the station Tuesday.
The station had a sign saying it was accepting "cash only," which several regular customers said was also not normal.
According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, the average price of a gallon of gas in Los Angeles County actually fell this week - to $2.95, the lowest price for regular unleaded since Dec. 28.
For years, several independently owned gas stations on Washington Boulevard had some of the cheapest gas in Pasadena, including V and A Fuels. But one station, the Fastop, has gone out of business, and another, Garo Gas, now sells only diesel.
Adam Gottlieb of the California Energy Commission said there are no legal restrictions prohibiting station owners from charging whatever price they want for gasoline.
But several drivers were saying no way to $8.87 gas. Most pulled in, then quickly pulled out after noticing the prices.
"I'm sure as hell not buying gasoline here," said Tasha Bell of Pasadena. "What kind of business is this?"
Paul Ramirez wanted to fill his Toyota SUV. He had been a regular customer since the station opened three months ago, he said.
"It was the cheapest gas in town - until today," said Ramirez. "I pulled up to buy gas, then the (store clerk) said 'Make sure you know the prices,' and I asked if she was kidding...Then I asked for my card back."