The bad news first. Average gasoline prices have risen 15 cents in the last week in the South Sound.
Now the good. Average gasoline prices are nearly a dollar less per gallon now than they were a year ago in Pierce, Thurston and South King counties.
So, while from a historical perspective prices could be much worse, forget paying less than $2 a gallon for unleaded regular.
In Pierce County, reported TacomaGasPrices.com, the lowest price Monday was $2.05 a gallon at the Puyallup Costco. In the Olympia area, the least-expensive gas, $2.09 a gallon, was available at a 76 station at 7637 Martin Way E. In Federal Way, the lowest price gas was $2.05 a gallon at the Costco at 35100 Enchanted Parkway S.
The local price increases are part of a nationwide trend. Nationwide, the average price of a gallon of gas rose to $2.18 from $2.05 a week ago, a 13-cent increase. Driving those price increases are jumps in the price of crude oil, which rebounded from a low of $40-plus a barrel to more than $50 a barrel.
“This past week gasoline prices saw the largest weekly incline since July 2013,” said Patrick DeHann, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com.
“While the pace of increases will slow in the week ahead, we’re looking at continued gas price increases over the next few weeks. Oil prices have risen, contributing to the higher prices, but also worrisome are the refinery strikes initiated over the last week that have oil companies scrambling to keep refineries online. Just yesterday, more strikes hit refineries in the Midwest, and while the strikes are not currently a contributor to higher gasoline prices, should there come a time when the strikes cause less production of refined fuels, motorists can expect spikes,” he said in a news release.
One of those refineries is the Tesoro refinery at Anacortes. Tersoro has said management personnel have taken over production jobs at the refinery during the strike.