We can all let out a collective groan. Gas prices are going up again.
The average price of regular gasoline here in Washington jumped 10 cents overnight.
Tuesday, AAA has Washington back over the $5-a-gallon average, and it could go higher before it starts going lower.
Several factors are to blame, including the war in Ukraine. But even the experts say they are surprised by that big one-day jump in gas prices.
“I hadn’t realized they had gone up overnight,” said Darleen Stanton of Seattle, “and I am sorry to see them go up.”
“Yeah, isn’t that nice?” asked Scott Hawton, who says he definitely noticed that prices were higher. “Oh, yeah, yeah. Because I drive back and forth from Des Moines.”
Just how high? According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in this state a week ago was $4.62. By Monday, a gallon of regular cost $4.92. Then overnight, it climbed to over $5 a gallon once again.
“It is a little bit surprising to see that big a jump in one day,” said Seattle University marketing professor Mathew Isaac.
Nevertheless, Isaac says the main reason for the sharp rise is actually seasonal and likely has little to do with Hurricane Ian bearing down on the gas-producing Gulf Coast.
“No, it seems like it could more likely that this is due to a local supply shock,” said Isaac. “And so, right now we know some of the refineries in western Washington are switching over from summer blend to winter blend. So, that will mean they are offline a little bit.”
He says that means the supply is at just 70% of normal. That, plus the continuing embargo on Russian oil, means there’s less oil on the market.
He also thinks prices aren’t done rising yet.
“The next couple of weeks, we might see some jumps or see some increases,” he said. “But I don’t expect it to go up to the levels we were seeing last year.”
That is good news, even for those for whom the pain at the pump is not an undue burden.
“There’s a whole spectrum of people who are affected by the rise in prices,” said Stanton. “And total sympathies, total.”
Isaac has some more good news. The winter blend is actually cheaper than the gasoline sold in the summer, so he says prices should begin to drop by late fall.
However, he says they likely won’t go as low as they were a year ago, when regular gas cost on average just under $4.
©2022 Cox Media Group