South Sound gas prices increasing moderately

South Sound gasoline prices moved moderately upward in the last week as a report from the federal government showed declining inventories of both gasoline and crude oil for the first time in months. reported average Tacoma-area gasoline prices neared $3.12 a gallon Monday, a 4-cent per gallon increase in the last week. While that news was not pleasant for drivers, it could be much worse.

At this time last year, gasoline prices in the South Sound were about 83 cents a gallon higher, a difference of $12.45 on a 15-gallon fill-up.

“Thanks to a large surprise decline in both crude oil and gasoline inventories last week, gasoline prices unexpectedly regained upward momentum,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “The government’s weekly report on petroleum supplies was a major departure from what we’ve seen this far in 2015: major jumps in crude inventories, so the market reacted significantly to the year’s first big decline in supply.”

South Sound prices were significantly above the national average of $2.81 a gallon because of higher taxes and restricted supplies here.

Prices have risen in the Great Lakes region where tight supplies, refinery maintenance issues and other problems have driven pump prices higher. Average prices in the Chicago area, for instance, are $3.35 a gallon while prices in northern Indiana are $3.20 a gallon.

California has the dubious honor of having the nation’s highest average gas prices, $3.53 a gallon. South Carolina has the lowest, $2.48 a gallon.

In the Tacoma area, four stations have the lowest per gallon price, $2.85. Those are the Puyallup Costco, two Puyallup Arco stations and an Arco in Lakewood.

In the Olympia area, an Arco at 10222 Martin Way E. has the least expensive gas at $2.87 a gallon.

In Federal Way, the Costco at 35100 Enchanted Parkway S. is the price leader with gas selling for $2.83.