Washington gas still highest in nation, cents from $5 per gallon



(The Center Square) – Washington fuel prices were the highest in America last week, surpassing California as the most expensive fuel market in the nation. It remained the highest this week, as prices statewide crept closer to the $5.00 per gallon mark, up $1.13 per gallon from the start of the year.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was sitting at $4.97 statewide on Monday, up from $4.89 the week prior according to AAA data. This price hike marks the 21st week this year of rising fuel prices for Washingtonians, following the implementation of the new carbon tax earlier this year.

This eight-cent per gallon increase happened while the national average stayed stagnant at $3.57 per gallon over the same time period.

“We may be in a bit of a demand lull heading into the July Fourth holiday. Drivers are benefiting financially, with 20 gallons of gas costing nearly $30 less than last year. And with the cost for oil low, drivers will find pump prices that are flat or drifting slightly lower for now,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross in a statement.

Despite the rest of the nation’s fuel pricing remaining stagnant, or even falling slightly, Washington’s continues to rise.

Washington’s $4.97 per gallon places it $1.40 per gallon higher than the national average of $3.57 per gallon. It is also $1.98 per gallon above the nation’s least expensive fuel cost of $2.99 per gallon, currently paid by Mississippi residents.

Intra-state variance remains high in Washington at $1.06 per gallon, though down six 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 $5.47 and $4.41 per gallon respectively.

Though the intra-state variance has dropped three weeks in a row, that has been due to low-end prices rising quickly, up 13 cents per gallon this week alone.

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.

Some state policy experts think there’s a legislative component to the relatively high cost of Washingtonians’ fuel, as previously reported by The Center Square, citing the state’s new cap-and-trade carbon tax program implemented Jan 1st of this year.

With the second carbon auction completed May 31, and the results announced June 7, one of those experts thinks that the legislative component added by cap-and-trade may be as high as 45 cents per gallon.

“Although Washington is paying more for CO2 emissions than California, that additional cost doesn’t help the environment – it just harms our economy,” said Todd Meyers of the Washington Policy Center in a recent report.

One Democrat, Senator Mark Mullet, agrees this price is too high, having recently introduced state legislation to cap the price of these auctions.

“Putting a price on carbon pollution is an important part of responding to our climate crisis, but the prices for carbon permits at our auctions have been way too high,” said Mullet in a statement accompanying the announcement of the legislation.

The third carbon auction is set to take place on Aug. 30.



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