Gas prices in the South Sound continued inching lower this week hitting an average of $3.311 a gallon, the lowest prices since February 2011.
Those prices were more than 7 cents lower than the average prices in the South Sound a year ago. Today’s average prices were almost exactly a dollar less than the 2012 South Sound high on Mememorial Day weekend.
The average was still being driven lower by an active price war in the Bonney Lake area where an Arco station there was the price leader at $3.12 a gallon according to The News Tribune’s Gas Deal Finder.
A Safeway store, also on Highway 410 was two cents higher a gallon and several other retailers in the Bonney Lake and Sumner areas were posting regular unleaded prices of $3.15 a gallon.
In the Olympia area, the lowest prices were at the Arco station at 7291 Martin Way E. where unleaded regular was priced at $3.19 a gallon.
In a normal year, gas prices bottom out the week before Christmas and then rise gradually to the year’s peak about Memorial Day.
This year, gas prices jumped in late winter and early spring to more than $4 a gallon, fell briefly and then jumped up again until Memorial Day.
After that holiday, prices fell through mid-July and then rose again until early October. Those prices have been on a gradual slide downward since then.
That price decline this year was shallow compared with the decline in 2008 when gas peaked at more than $4.34 a gallon locally and then fell all the way to an average of $1.66 a gallon in December. Those months were marked by the collapse of the mortgage bubble and the near demise of several major banks.
Those with long memories can recall the last time gas sold in the South Sound for less than $1.00 a gallon on average. That was in late 2001, when the 911 terrorist attacks radically dampened travel and the economy in general.