By Timothy Schumann
The Center Square 

Gas prices decline in state

Cost still second-highest in country

 

Last updated 9/13/2023 at 2:48pm



OLYMPIA – Washington state fuel prices fell for the first time in months, but still remain above $5 a gallon. Despite the decrease, the Evergreen State still has the second-highest gas prices in the nation, behind only California.

At the beginning of the year, the average price at the pump in Washington state was $3.84 per gallon. As of Monday, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Washington is $5.06, down from $5.09 the week prior, according to AAA data.

Per AAA, the average price of gas in California this week is $5.43 per gallon, up from $5.32 the week prior.

Washington’s 3-cent per gallon decrease was the first in months, while the national average moved in the opposite direction, rising 2 cents per gallon to $3.83 from $3.81 per gallon the week prior.

“Pump prices appear to be defying the odds at the moment, despite the surge in the cost of oil,” AAA spokesperson said Andrew Gross in a statement. “This uneasy balancing act may last until we get beyond hurricane season and its threats to Gulf Coast oil and gas production and refining.”


Washington’s $5.06 per gallon is $1.23 per gallon higher than the national average of $3.83 per gallon. It is also $1.80 per gallon above the nation’s least expensive fuel cost of $3.26 per gallon, currently paid by Mississippi residents.

Intra-state variance in Washington remains high at $1.12 per gallon, which is down 9 cents per gallon from the week prior. The outliers this week, San Juan and Asotin counties, represent the most and least expensive gas prices statewide at $5.59 and $4.47 per gallon, respectively.

This price variance still largely follows the Cascade Range, with residents to the west paying a higher premium at the pump than residents to the east.

The state Department of Ecology has held three quarterly carbon auctions and one Allowance Price Containment Reserve auction so far this year, bringing in more than $1.4 billion.

Prices in that third quarterly auction were high enough to trigger a second Allowance Price Containment Reserve auction, slated for Nov. 8, as previously reported by The Center Square.

Critics say the carbon tax plays a major role in Washington's high gas prices. The administration of Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Ecology contend the state's cap-and-trade program, part of the 2021 Climate Commitment Act, has had a minimal impact on gas prices in Washington.

 

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