Gas shortages and record high prices plague Washington drivers

UPDATED: MAY 21, 2022 AT 5:13 PM
The team that brings you MyNorthwest

Gas stations in Washington are resetting their price boards to accommodate double digits in preparation for fuel prices potentially reaching $10 a gallon.

The move comes as several gas stations in the state have already run out of fuel.

However, Governor Jay Inslee remains firm on not lifting the gas tax he proposed, which would levy a six-cents-per-gallon tax on fuel refined in Washington and imported to states with lower state gas taxes than Washington.

“If we simply eliminate the gas tax, here’s what will happen,” Inslee said in a press conference. “The oil companies will just increase their prices to the same pain point. And what would happen is that those 16 cents or whatever you did, instead of going to the coffers where we can build roads, it would just go to the oil companies and their profits.”

As proposed, the tax paid by out-of-state consumers would generate an estimated $2 billion for Washington transportation projects, such as fixing highways and bridges, building new ferries, and repairs of the aging I-5 bridge over the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon.

Not everyone agrees with Inslee’s stance, including Washington Senator Simon Sefzik (R).

“This sort of idea that if you have any sort of tax relief, it’s going to just be some sort of pay cut to gas companies, that that just isn’t the case,” Sefzik said on the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “And we could have done this in Washington in a way that would have provided immediate tax relief to the people of Washington, but didn’t. So I think at this point, it’s ultimately prioritizing politics over the people of Washington State. It’s an unwillingness to roll up our sleeves, go back to a legislative session, and provide this type of relief to people.”

The average price of a gallon of gas in Washington state is $5.18 — well above the national average of $4.59 as of Thursday, according to AAA. Gas is 50% more expensive nationwide than it was this time last year.

Some have interpreted this as the governor simply refusing to help the pending gas crisis, including Rantz, who called him “arguably the nation’s most economically illiterate governor.”

“While supply is eventually replenished, the demand is as high as the prices, putting a strain on people like Kenneth Leach,” said Jason Rantz on Tucker Carlson Tonight. “Three years ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia and travels from his home in eastern Washington to Seattle three times a month for medical care. Those trips cost him and his wife about $120 each time!”

“The gas station owners in Seattle aren’t getting cryptic messages from oil execs to raise prices at the pump,” Rantz continued. “The gas pump price comes from on-market conditions impacted by supply and demand, and how much their gas delivery runs will cost. Obviously, Washington isn’t the only state hurting — the entire west coast is paying more than $5 a gallon and there’s no end in sight.”

The gas crisis has many worried as the state continues its inflation ascent.

“I remember as a very young girl the Carter gas lines,” Deborah Railton posted on Facebook. “My Dad had to plan a four-hour window for sitting in a line, fingers crossed that the station didn’t run out.

“A man called into a radio station,” Railton continued. “He said he filled his tank for $35 … it was for his lawnmower.”

California has the most expensive gas prices as of this reporting, with a gallon going for $6.064. Nevada is the second-most at $5.24, followed by Washington and Oregon ($5.141). Oklahoma remains the lowest at $4.033, followed by Kansas at $4.048.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.