South Sound drivers may soon be saying a sad adieu to gas at less than $2 a gallon.
After watching gas prices decline for seven months from a summer high of $4 a gallon, average gasoline prices in the South Sound, which bottomed out at about $2.16 a gallon, are headed upward again.
TacomaGasPrices.com reports the average price of unleaded regular Tuesday in the Tacoma area was $2.19 a gallon, up nearly 3 cents since Monday.
Those local numbers mirror national trends. Nationwide, the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular Tuesday was nearly $2.08 a gallon compared with a bit more than $2.05 a gallon Monday.
Driving those prices higher was the price of crude oil, which was trading above $50 a barrel Tuesday after days of sub-$50 prices.
Forty-six of the 50 states were reporting higher average gas prices Tuesday than Monday, according the GasBuddy.com.
Despite the price increases, gas is still available at some four dozen stations in Pierce, South King and Thurston counties for less than $2 a gallon. In the Tacoma area, eight stations were selling gas for $1.95 a gallon Tuesday afternoon. Those stations included two Costco stores and several Arco stations.
In the Olympia area, only one station, an Arco station at 7291 Martin Way E., was selling gas for less than $2 a gallon.
In Federal Way, an Arco station at 27202 Pacific Highway S. was the price leader with gas at $1.93 a gallon.
Though the days of ultra-cheap fuel may be ending soon here, analysts expect that abundant supplies of crude oil will still keep gas prices relatively low even as gas prices begin their typical springtime ascent. One national expert predicted those nationwide averages would reach $2.30 or so a gallon in early summer.
That price would still be a large saving for motorists. A year ago, gas was already selling at a South Sound average of $3.33 a gallon.
Across the country, Idaho on average had the cheapest gas, $1.86 a gallon Tuesday. Vermont posted the highest average, $2.29 a gallon.