AAA: Washington’s gas prices 3rd highest in the country

Apr 17, 2024, 8:00 AM | Updated: 8:11 am

Photo: People pump gas at a Shell gas station on August 03, 2023....

People pump gas at a Shell gas station on August 03, 2023. AAA reports Washington gas prices are going up. (Photo: Brandon Bell, Getty Images)

(Photo: Brandon Bell, Getty Images)

It is official, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), that drivers in Washington are paying the third highest gas prices in the country — and prices could go even higher.

Currently, Washington drivers are paying an average of $4.67 a gallon for regular unleaded. That’s $1.23 a gallon higher than the national average.

AAA reported gas prices in Washington were up nearly 6% — 18 cents a gallon — compared to gas prices a year ago. And gas prices are up 38 cents a gallon since last month.

Past coverage: Washington gas prices hit 2024 high, up 28% over national average

Those types of increases are taking an ever-growing chunk from most families’ budgets.

“With inflation and everything, it’s just becoming less and less affordable to live here,” Sophia Anderson, a resident who moved back to Seattle from Austin, Texas, said. “Prices are cheaper (in Texas) and it’s been a difficult transition to make.”

Several factors are causing higher gasoline prices. Scheduled work on British Petroleum’s Olympic pipeline increased prices, while spring usually kicks off an annual increase in road travel. Refineries are also using a more expensive, less-polluting blend of fuel in the summer to account for changing weather conditions and mitigate environmental impacts.

Additionally, critics of the state’s climate change initiative, which seeks to cut carbon emissions, have cited the legislation for increasing gas prices by an additional 43 cents last year.

More on Wash.’s climate change initiative: Inslee accused of dishonesty over climate law’s impact on gas prices

While many Washingtonians are environmentally conscious, there is a fine line between what’s good for the environment, and how much they are willing to happily pay for gasoline.

“I grew up in Seattle and I’m used to paying more for environmental protection, but I think there has to be a balance,” Anderson said.

According to AAA, neighboring states are feeling a similar impact. Prices have jumped 43 cents in Oregon, 55 cents in Alaska and 60 cents in Utah.

Seattle area average energy prices: Gasoline, utility gas prices dip, electricity rises

Prices typically go a bit higher when the state changes over to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline.

A wildcard in all of this is the conflict in the Middle East. Depending on what happens there, gas prices could increase by as much as 15%.

There is some good news. AAA said prices tend to fall as the country enters the fall and winter driving season — when people drive significantly less on average.

Contributing: Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest

You can read more of James Lynch’s stories here. Follow James on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

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