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Washington gas at $5.09 per gallon ahead of Wednesday’s carbon auction results

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(The Center Square) – Washington state gas prices are rising again, but slower than earlier in the year. Despite the increase, California retains its position as the state with the highest gas prices in the nation, beating out the Evergreen State by 19 cents this week.

Fuel prices in Washington started the year at $3.84 for a gallon for regular unleaded gas.

As of Monday, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Washington is $5.09, a 1-cent increase from the prior week, according to AAA data. Per AAA, the average price of gas in California this week is $5.32 per gallon, up from $5.28 the week prior.

Week to week, the national average stayed at $3.81 per gallon.

“With visits to the pump rather flat and the price of oil hovering around the $80 per barrel mark, the national average for a gallon of gas will likely stay where it is through this holiday weekend,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross in a statement prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend. “Hurricane Idalia may cause regional price jumps due to station damage, flooded roads, and power outages, but as in past years, these things are usually fixed in a few weeks.”

Washington’s $5.09 per gallon is $1.28 per gallon higher than the national average of $3.81 per gallon. It is also $1.80 per gallon above the nation’s least expensive fuel cost of $3.29 per gallon, currently paid by Mississippi residents.

Intra-state variance in Washington remains high at $1.21 per gallon, up 4 cents per gallon from the week prior. The outliers this week, again San Juan and Asotin counties, represent the most and least expensive gas prices statewide at $5.68 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 has held three quarterly auctions so far and one special auction on Aug. 9 triggered by the Allowance Price Containment Reserve clause, collecting more than $919 million in total so far.

That figure does not include money collected from the most recent quarterly auction held on Aug. 30. Preliminary results from that auction are set to be released on Wednesday.

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 say cap-and-trade has had a minimal impact on the price at the pump.

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