Lowest gas prices in months an early Christmas gift for WA drivers

Dec 19, 2022, 6:43 PM

gas prices...

A Chevron gas station on December 05, 2022. U.S. gas prices have dropped towards $3 a gallon, with global gas prices having steadily dropped since June. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Record-high gas prices have been one of the themes of 2022.

But as Washington drivers get ready to head home for the holidays, they are getting an early Christmas present — the lowest gas prices the region has seen in months.

“For now, the average price is down about 14 cents a gallon in the last week in Seattle — the average now $4.14, with many stations that are already under the $4 a gallon mark, a trend that should continue,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy.

Allow extra time for mail deliveries this holiday season

The average price of regular in Washington topped out at $5.56 per gallon in mid-June, according to AAA. Prices fell over the summer, but then rose sharply again in the early fall, partially due to West Coast refinery troubles. Since late October, gas prices have been steadily dropping.

De Haan said that nationally, the average price of gas is now the lowest it has been since June 2021. In Seattle, prices are just about back down to where they were last year at this time, before the war in Ukraine began.

“Looking back, Seattle now is about 10 cents above where it was a year ago, but very close to the lowest prices of the year,” De Haan said. “And there’s more to come.”

Gas prices typically rise during the spring and summer as people go on vacation, and fall during autumn and winter as the demand drops with the temperatures, De Haan said. That means drivers can likely get used to this less-painful pump experience, at least for the next couple of months.

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“Going into Christmas and potentially into New Year’s as well, gas prices should continue moderating … so for January and February, I’d expect some of the lower prices to stick around, but then we’ll likely see a trend of rising prices later in the winter, ” De Haan said.

Lower winter demand is not the only factor at play here. Although the war in Ukraine continues, other events around the world are bringing the price of fuel down.

“COVID cases in China have surged, causing them to consume far less oil,” De Haan said. “So, at least for now, the Russian war in Ukraine is being offset by a large drop in demand from China.”

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