(The Center Square) – After more than thirteen straight weeks of price declines, Washington fuel prices increased this week.
On Monday, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was sitting at $3.92 statewide, up from $3.84 the week prior, according to AAA data. This 8 cent increase per gallon marks a sharp reversal in the over three month-long trend of fuel prices in Washington state.
“As we head toward February, pump prices will likely dip, barring any jolt in the global oil market,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross in a statement. “But it is likely that the national average prices we saw heading in to Christmas may have been the lows for this winter.”
While fuel prices have been falling significantly when looking at the national average, citizens of the Evergreen State are still firmly on the expensive end of the market nationwide. Washington’s pump prices were again only beaten out by Nevada, California, and Hawaii, who filled out third to first on the list of most expensive states to gas up in.
Compared with the national average of $3.28 per gallon, Washington’s $3.92 makes it 64 cents per gallon higher than that average. This is a full $1.11 off the nation’s least expensive fuel costs of $2.81 per gallon currently paid by Georgians.
In Washington, intra-state variance remains high, spanning a range of $1.23 per gallon across counties. The outliers this week, San Juan and Pend Oreille counties, represent the most and least expensive gas prices statewide at $4.55 and $3.32 per gallon, respectively.
This price variance still largely follows the Cascade Range, with residents to the west paying a higher premium at the pump than residents to the east.
On top of the nation-topping prices, as of Jan. 1st of this year Washingtonians also have a new cap-and-trade tax to contend with. Originally projected to cost an additional 46 cents per gallon, the first carbon auction concluded last month, and that price projection may have been on the high side.
According to previous reporting by The Center Square, Washington Policy Center environmental director Todd Myers thinks that prices may only rise 28 cents per gallon. This is based on 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide selling for $35 per metric ton.
Brett Davis contributed to this report.