Gas prices are rising modestly in the South Sound this week after they bottomed out during the Independence Day holiday week.
The News Tribune’s Gas Deal Finder shows average prices in the Tacoma area Tuesday were $3.564 a gallon. That price is up almost eight cents a gallon from this time last week when 2012 pump prices were near their year-to-date low.
Even with the eight-cent increase, gas prices are 75 cents or so below the year’s high during the Memorial Day holiday period.
And gas was still available at some stations both in the Tacoma area and Olympia at substantially less than the area average. An Arco station in Thurston County at Sleater Kinney Road and Martin Way, for instance, was selling unleaded gas for $3.25 a gallon Tuesday. In Pierce County, an Arco station at South 104th Street and Portland Avenue was charging $3.33 a gallon.
Local prices are about 12 cents higher per gallon than the national average due in part to higher gas taxes here. This week Washington state had the nation’s ninth highest gas prices according to GasBuddy.com. The average in the Evergreen State Tuesday was $3.578 a gallon.
The nation’s lowest prices were in the South in an arc of states from South Carolina to Louisiana. The average price for a gallon of unleaded regular in South Carolina, the state with the lowest prices, was $3.056 a gallon Tuesday. Mississippi had the second lowest gas prices, $3.084 a gallon.
The nation’s highest prices were in Hawaii, an isolated market that is nearly always at or near the top of the list. Average price there were $4.173 a gallon.
On the U.S. mainland, high prices were concentrated along the West Coast and the Northeast. Connecticut had the nation’s third-highest prices in the country after Hawaii and Alaska with average prices of $3.729. California was fourth on the average price list with $3.702.
If the market follows historic patterns, the price may rise slightly through Labor Day and then drop again until just before Christmas, when prices will turn upward once more.
All bets are off, however, if international events such an Iranian blockade of the Strait of Hormuz or a deeper European financial crisis skew crude oil prices upward or downward dramatically.