(The Center Square) – Monday marks the seventh week of price increases at the pump for Washingtonians since the new carbon tax was implemented earlier this year.
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was sitting at $4.22 statewide on Monday, up from $4.18 a week prior according to AAA data.
This 4 cent per gallon increase contrasts with the national average, which fell from $3.41 per gallon to $3.36 per gallon, a 5 cent per gallon decrease, over the same time period.
“The cost for oil accounts for 55% of what we pay at the pump, so higher or lower oil costs will play a major role in the price we pay when fuel-ing up,” said AAA Spokesperson Andrew Gross in a statement, citing oil pricing, which fell into the mid $70 per barrel range, almost $5.00 per barrel cheaper than the prior week.
Residents of the Evergreen State have to dig deeper into their wallets than most. Washington’s pump prices again came in at fourth most expensive nationally, being beat out only by Nevada, California, and Hawaii, who filled out third to first on the list.
Washington’s $4.22 per gallon places it 86 cents per gallon higher than the national average of $3.36 per gallon. That is $1.31 per gallon above the nation’s least expensive fuel costs of $2.91 per gallon, currently paid by Texans.
In Washington, intra-state variance remains high at $1.22 per gallon, but down from last week’s $1.33 per gallon. The outliers this week, San Juan and Asotin counties, represent the most and least expensive gas prices statewide at $4.92 and $3.70 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 these higher prices, as of Jan. 1 of this year, Washingtonians also have a new cap-and-trade system to pay for at the pump.
According to a report by the Washington Policy Center’s Environmental Director Todd Meyers, gas prices in Washington quickly spiked 10 cents per gallon relative to California and Oregon.
“What the data show is that prices in Washington state jumped suddenly over the last two weeks much more than the other states on the West Coast,” the report stated.
Ultimately, the full impact of the new carbon tax won’t be known until regular auctions occur. The report notes that the new law “sets a minimum price of $22/metric ton of CO2, which translates to 17 cents per gallon. The price could go as high as $81/MT which would be 65 cents per gallon.”
Timothy Schumann is a contributor at The Center Square.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
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