Caught between a growing oversupply of gasoline at storage facilities throughout the country and worries that Middle East conflicts could flare into a wider war, gasoline prices are marching in place in the South Sound this week.
Those countervailing forces are, on one hand, pushing gas prices lower, while on the other exerting upward pressure on crude oil prices.
South Sound motorists should count themselves lucky, the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas Monday in the South Sound was $2.77 a gallon, nearly 93 cents a gallon less than gas was at this time last year.
According to TacomaGasPrices.com, Monday’s gas prices are about four cents less on average than they were last week in Tacoma and the surrounding area and about three cents less per gallon than a month ago, according to the gas price website.
Local gas prices bottomed out in early February this year, at about $2.16 a gallon, rose until early March to just under $3 a gallon and then began a gradual decline to their present level where they have stabilized for now.
In New York on Monday, crude oil prices fell below $50 a barrel for light sweet domestic crude after they rose above $50 last week on the fear that Saudi Arabia and its allies who were intervening in a civil war in neighboring Yemen would be drawn into a wider conflict with rebels backed by Iran. Meanwhile, oil analysts say storage facilities nationwide are nearing their capacity of gasoline, a fact that will likely force prices downward.
Gasoline bargain hunters in the South Sound can save themselves as much as 30 cents a gallon by buying their petrol at any of nine stations in Pierce County selling unleaded for less than $2.50 a gallon. Among those retailers are Costco and several APP and Arco station.
In Olympia, the lowest prices are a bit higher. An APP station at 1312 Fones Road SE is the price leader there with gas available for $2.54 a gallon. In Federal Way, an Arco station at 1600 SW 312th St. has the lowest prices in that community at $2.49 a gallon.