AAA Washington: Gas prices are ‘at the whim of the market’

Mar 9, 2022, 10:42 AM
gas pump, prices...
Filling up a car with gas. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

One year ago, the average price for gas in the greater Seattle area was about $3.32 per gallon. Right now, according to AAA, it will cost you $4.73 per gallon on average, which is the highest ever recorded for the region.

Gas prices soar to record levels across Washington state

So why are we seeing these big jumps in gas prices?

“There’s actually a lot of factors at work, but when we talk about the huge jump that we’ve seen in recent days, yes, that is the markets reacting to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Kelly Just with AAA Washington told Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin. “That’s driving up the price of crude, and every time the price of crude increases, so do our prices at the pump.”

“We’re kind of at their mercy, even though we get a minuscule amount of fuel from Russia,” she added. “We are at the whim of the market.”

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As for how high the prices could get in the coming weeks and months, Just says that’s hard to predict.

“Unpredictable is the word of the day,” Just replied. “But, as President Biden said, things are probably going to get worse before they get better because banning Russian oil will likely cause additional pain at the pump.”

While Just says she wouldn’t be surprised to see prices go higher, she couldn’t make a prediction on how high it will go since it’s based on unpredictable world markets.

In the meantime, there are a few tips for drivers to help cut down on the amount of gas used.

“I do want to say, historically, when gas prices go up that doesn’t tend to stop people form taking road trips altogether,” Just noted. “Maybe they’ll take a shorter trip as far as days, or they won’t go quite as far away, but they tend to still take the trip and cut back in other ways, like cheaper hotel rooms, or make their own meals.”

When you are on the road, Just says to make sure your tires are properly inflated, and notes that driving the speed limit can also make a big difference.

“When you’re city driving, you want to try to avoid the jackrabbit starts and stops that can happen in gridlock. You want to try to keep your speed steady,” she said.

Hear the full interview and more fuel-friendly tips:

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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AAA Washington: Gas prices are ‘at the whim of the market’