Gas prices on the North Olympic Peninsula have eclipsed the $4 mark per gallon on average, and prices in Washington state are more than 25 cents per gallon above the national average, according to AAA.
Clallam County hit an average of $4.082 per gallon on Thursday and Jefferson County was at $4.158 per gallon, both similar to the statewide average of $4.109, AAA reported.
The national average on Thursday was $3.728, according to AAA, which uses daily retail receipts for its calculations.
“Overall, markets are being jittery because of world events,” said Kelly Just, the public relations manager for AAA Washington.
Some of the increase has to do with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but the few refineries in the Puget Sound that receive crude oil from Siberia have other options, she said.
“They have other ways, but overall, worldwide, there’s been a lower inventory of crude,” Just said.
Since Monday, the national average has increased 11 cents per gallon to $3.72, AAA reported.
The state average last week was $3.986, up slightly over last month ($3.952). A year ago, the state average was more than 80 cents cheaper at $3.122.
Washington state is generally about 25 cents per gallon more expensive than the national average because of the state gas tax, Just said.
To help counter the impact of rising oil prices, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has coordinated the release this week of 60 million barrels of crude oil from its 31-member countries’ reserves, including the United States, according to AAA.
“Hopefully that will help alleviate a little bit of the pressure, but that’s going to have more of an impact on other places that are more reliant on Russian crude,” Just said.
She added we also may be seeing a regular pre-pandemic pattern of increase for gas prices leading up to Memorial Day.
“If we’re going to peak at Memorial Day or thereabouts, we’ve got a much longer stretch to climb,” she said. “That means prices are going to just keep rising, and we’ve got a ways to go.”
The last time gas prices in the Puget Sound region were this high this early in the year was March 2012, Just said.
Another possible factor is an ongoing shortage of truck drivers, Just said.
“A lot of the truck drivers retired when they weren’t needed as much during COVID, and now they’re having trouble hiring replacements,” she said.
The following prices were self-reported throughout the Peninsula at gasbuddy.com:
In Port Angeles on Thursday, some of the average prices for regular fuel included $3.85 at the Lower Elwha Food and Fuel, 4773 S. Dry Creek Road; $3.95 at both Safeway locations, 312 S. Lincoln St. and 2709 E. U.S. Highway 101; $3.99 at the Shell station, 1137 W. U.S. Highway 101; and $4.05 at Chevron, 601 E. First St.
In Forks, regular fuel cost $4.25 per gallon at Circle K, 171 N. Forks Ave.; and it was $4.29 at both the 76 station, 490 N. Forks Ave., and the Shell station, 170 N. Forks Ave.
Hess Mart, at 17203 state Highway 112 in Clallam Bay, was $4.29 per gallon of regular fuel on Thursday.
In Sequim, regular fuel was reported to be $3.94 per gallon at Safeway, 680 W. Washington St.; $3.99 at Costco, 955 W. Washington St.; and $4.09 at three locations, including the Shell station, 194 W. Washington St., QFC, 990 E. Washington St. and The Co-op Farm and Garden, 216 E. Washington St.
In Port Townsend, it cost $3.99 per gallon of regular gasoline at Safeway, 2611 E. Sims Way; and $4.09 at both the 76 station, 2342 W. Sims Way, and the Shell station, 1408 W. Sims Way.
In Chimacum, cash customers could pay $4.19 per gallon of regular gasoline at Chevron, 9072 Beaver Valley Road, or they could pay $4.29 with credit.
The Quilcene Village Store, 294235 U.S. Highway 101, was reportedly $4.38 per gallon on Thursday.
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