By Arwyn Rice and Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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Summer fuel blend blamed; to fall in May?
Of the signs of spring on the North Olympic Peninsula and elsewhere in the nation, none is so unwelcome as the annual rise of gas prices.
Prices per gallon for regular unleaded gas as reported Saturday ranged from $3.89 to $3.61 in Jefferson County and from $3.90 to $3.59 in Clallam County.
“Spring is the most frustrating time of year for drivers, given that gas prices seem to jump every time you get in the car,” said Avery Ash, spokesman for the American Automobile Association, which tracks fuel prices nationwide.
Each spring, oil refineries must switch production to a summer-blend gasoline by May 1, Ash said.
The change to the new blend increases disruption to production, which boosts gas prices at the pump, he said.
However, prices aren't expected to stay high for long, according to the association's website.
It expects the cost of gasoline nationwide to peak soon, with prices declining again in May.
Prices of regular unleaded gasoline on the Peninsula as of Saturday were compiled from www.GasBuddy.com, a website that tracks individual gas station prices, and by calling Peninsula stations in an informal — and inconclusive — survey.
In Port Townsend, the Safeway fuel station at 2611 E. Sims Way was selling regular unleaded gas for $3.68 per gallon Saturday, while the 76 station at 2342 Sims Way and Cliff Street was selling gas for $3.75 per gallon.
An informal phone survey Saturday found the highest price reported in Jefferson County to be $3.89 per gallon.
That was the price at the CHS gas station at 9315 Rhody Drive in Chimacum and the Brinnon General Store at 306413 U.S. Highway 101.
The Port Hadlock QFC station at 1890 Irondale Road was selling gas for $3.61 per gallon, apparently the cheapest gas in Jefferson County, while the Quilcene Village Store at 294235 U.S. Highway 101 reported $3.88 per gallon.
The cheapest regular unleaded price found in Clallam County was $3.59, both at the Port Angeles Safeway station at 312. S. Lincoln St. and the Sequim Costco at 955 W. Washington St.
The highest price discovered in the informal survey in Clallam County was $3.90 at the Joyce General Store, 50893 state Highway 112.
The Shell station at 1137 W. U.S. Highway 101 and South Fairmont Avenue and the Texaco station at 210 S. Lincoln St. in Port Angeles listed $3.89 per gallon, as did the Chevron at 23 Hooker Road and the Shell station at 20 Carlsborg Road in Carlsborg.
Sequim's Safeway at 680 W. Washington St., reported $3.61 per gallon.
GasBuddy.com reported a price of $3.79 per gallon at the lone Blyn station, the Jamestown S'Klallam Longhouse Chevron, 271020 U.S. Highway 101.
In Forks, the Evergreen 76 station at 490 N. Forks Ave. reported $3.84 per gallon.
The CB Properties Shell station at 17203 state Highway 112 in Clallam Bay reported $3.79 per gallon.
Nationwide, gas prices had jumped 2 cents on average by the end of last week and are expected to continue rising for another week or two, but not as high as the past three years, according to the American Automobile Association.
On Saturday, the state average price for regular unleaded gas was $3.74 per gallon, according to AAA.
States with higher averages included Hawaii at $4.31 per gallon, California at $4.13 per gallon and Alaska at $3.81 per gallon.
Oregon's average was $3.70 per gallon, just behind Washington, while neighboring Idaho was one of the least expensive gas states, at $3.38 per gallon.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at email@example.com.