The region’s average gasoline prices rose to $4.28 Thursday – 11 cents short of the all-time record – but some relief may be in sight now that a major Northwest refinery is set to come online again.
West Coast fuel prices, including in Tacoma, have shot up dramatically since last week as the result of refinery shutdowns. Five of California’s 12 refineries are closed now for maintenance.
Olympia-area fuel prices the past week have climbed 18 cents, while in Tacoma prices have risen 19 cents to $4.27.
Those prices might begin to fall once BP’s Cherry Point refinery near Bellingham begins producing again. The refinery’s fire-related shutdown is credited in part with pushing gas prices in Washington and along the West Coast to the highest levels since 2008.
BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company is working around the clock to get the production back online.
AAA Washington spokesman Dave Overstreet added that those refinery closures reduced gasoline inventories for the month of May to its lowest level since 1992. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have watched gasoline prices fall since mid-April, he said, while prices have climbed in Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska.
Tacoma-area average gasoline prices for regular unleaded:
Last week: $4.08
Last month: $4.11
Last year: $4.01
All-time record: $4.36, which was set on June 22, 2008
All-time record for diesel: $4.97, which was set on July 18, 2008Source: AAA daily fuel gauge report firstname.lastname@example.org