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Washington state gas prices continue to climb

(AP Photo)

Predictions that Washington state’s gas prices would peak between April and May have proven prophetic, with rates climbing well above the averages for both last month and last year.

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According to data provided by GasBuddy, the average price of gas per gallon in the state is $3.44. That number is 53 cents above March’s average of $2.91, and 23 cents above last year’s average of $3.21.

Regionally, gas prices are significantly higher in Western Washington, with 17 out of the 22 most expensive counties all residing in that area of the state. Jefferson County boasts the highest rates, averaging $3.70 per gallon.

Following behind Jefferson are Whatcom County and King County, with average per-gallon gas prices of $3.58 and $3.53 respectively.

The state’s two most populated cities feature a stark difference between their own prices: Seattle is averaging $3.54 per gallon this April, while Spokane sits at just $3.05. That said, both cities saw an increase of just over 45 cents from March.

While gas prices usually begin to rise this time of year, GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan notes that this latest spike is “bigger than we’ve seen in recent memory.”

“For now, based on where we stand today, prices may continue to increase for one to two more weeks, as long as there is no new issue that arises … prices may eventually come back down starting in maybe two to three weeks, maybe longer,” DeHaan told KIRO Radio.

The current issues contributing to the price spike are refinery outages in California, as well as refineries going through maintenance in Washington state.

DeHaan calls it a “safe bet” that prices start to come down again come June, and may even continue that trajectory throughout the summer, as long as “there are no unforeseen issues.”

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