Guzzling gas? Go elsewhere for best price

Peninsula Daily News

Editor's Note: A new gas price study from the state attorney general's office tracked location-specific prices through the state, including an in-depth analysis of factors influencing both wholesale and retail prices.

OLYMPIA If you want to get a better deal on gasoline, get off the North Olympic Peninsula or fuel up in Jefferson County.

Clallam County had the fourth-highest gas prices in the state in 2007, behind San Juan, Okanogan and Pacific counties, according to a study commissioned by state Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Prices were lower in Jefferson County, where the average price was 14th in the state.

It's getting the gas here that hikes prices, the study concluded.

According to figures compiled for McKenna by University of Washington economist Keith Leffler, wholesale fuel prices vary no more than 3.4 cents per gallon across the state.

But the cost of transporting the precious petroleum product can boost retail prices per gallon hugely.

The study uncovered no illegal conduct in the pricing of gasoline from 2000 to 2008, McKenna's report said.

Leffler charted average per gallon prices in 2007 across the state.

The range, including Clallam and Jefferson counties, shows these costs:

  • Statewide: $3.007.

  • San Juan County: $3.744.

  • Pacific County: $3.136.

  • Okanogan County: $3.100.

  • Clallam County: $3.071.

  • Skamania County: $3.043.

  • Ferry: $3.041.

  • Whatcom County: $$3.041.

  • Lewis County: $3.037.

  • Wahkiakum County: $3.037.

  • Grays Harbor County: $3.024.

  • Klickitat County: $3.024.

  • Walla Walla County: $3.019.

  • Adams: $3.018.

  • Jefferson County: $3.013.

  • Mason County: $2.989.

  • King County: $2.966.

  • Island County: $2.956.

  • Kitsap County: $2.954.

  • Spokane County: $2.909.

    Meanwhile, diesel consumption has risen while demand for gasoline has declined slightly.

    The amount of gas consumed by Washington state drivers dropped by 1 percent from 2003 to 2007.

    In the same period, diesel consumption climbed 31 percent.

    Rising container traffic
    Part of that rise, according to Leffler, was due to growth in container traffic entering the ports of Seattle and Tacoma and being delivered by semi-trailer trucks.

    Other findings:

  • Gas prices have doubled since May 2003.

  • From June 2000 to June 2001, retail prices varied by 11 cents.

  • From February 2007 to last September, they varied by 91 cents.

  • The cost of crude oil accounted for about 39 cents per gallon of gas a year ago, compared to 62 percent by December.

  • Refiners receive about 67 cents per gallon for producing and transporting fuel.

  • Washington's combined state and federal fuel taxes total 54.4 cents per gallon, highest in the U.S.

  • Washington's five major refineries are running at capacity, producing more fuel than is consumed in the state because they also supply Oregon and parts of California.

    Last modified: May 03. 2008 9:00PM
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