Gas prices in state up more than a buck since last year

Gas prices in Washington slipped 1 cent per gallon to an average of $3.48 per gallon this week, an industry report showed.

Locally, in Grays Harbor County, the average per gallon price was $3.52 per gallon, according to a GasBuddy survey released on Tuesday.

Aberdeen gas prices ranged from $3.29 per gallon at the Q-Mart to $3.49 per gallon at 7-Eleven stations earlier this week. Gas in Ocean Shores was $3.70 per gallon. Meanwhile, in Hoquiam, the average was $3.42 per gallon.

The slight downturn represented a brief respite from a wave of rising prices, which increased 8.5 cents per gallon in Washington in the month leading up to Memorial Day Weekend.

“Usually there is a spike around Memorial Day,” said Aaron Hanks, the owner of both Mobil gas stations in Hoquiam. “I think a couple of years ago the prices we’re not quite as high, but they were within a quarter or so.

“But last year was depressed because of the pandemic. Our sales dropped a little because people weren’t driving as much during the shutdown or shortly thereafter.”

Hanks said, overall, the industry is beginning to get back on track.

“We’re seeing higher volumes,” he said.

Statewide, the lowest price earlier this week was $2.86 per gallon at the Clarkston Costco. Gas prices on GasBuddy are reported by members of the site, so not all gas stations report current rates all the time, especially the more remote gas stations.

In other areas, Tacoma’s average price per gallon fell 1.8 cents this week to $3.63, Seattle prices were down 1.4 cents to $3.69 per gallon, but Yakima gas prices rose 3 cents to $3.46 per gallon.

Nationwide, the average price of gasoline rose six-tenths of a cent per gallon in the last week to $3.04 per gallon. The national average is up 14.3 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands $1.06 higher than a year ago.

“With the summer driving season now officially begun, gas prices have clung to a $3 per gallon average on continued strong demand as Americans take to the roads amidst a continued economic recovery,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

“Through Sunday, U.S. gasoline demand was very strong over the weekend, with Friday and Sunday both setting new COVID records for gasoline consumption for their respective day of week, according to GasBuddy data.

While gasoline demand continues to recover, oil production has slowly started gaining momentum after a tough 2020 forced oil companies to take several steps backward as prices and demand plummeted last year.

Looking ahead, there is little chance of a backslide in nationwide gas prices and a larger chance that this summer could boast near-record gasoline demand as motorists hit the road, the survey stated.

GasBuddy surveys 2,666 gas stations daily in Washington, as well as providing weekly industry updates.