It’s only been two days since we last visited the gas price situation in the South Sound, so it’s unusual that we’re back here talking about gas prices so soon.
But, the situation merits notice because the changes over the last two days are so dramatic. Gas prices have jumped an average of 11 cents a gallon in just two days in the Tacoma area. In the last week, those prices have jumped by 22 cents a gallon to $3.84.
Why? It’s hard to say other than that station owners and gas suppliers have decided to raise prices, and most all of their competitors are going along.
Last year, the abnormally high prices were in part attributable to a tight supply of gas because of a February fire at the state’s largest refinery and problems at other refineries in California.
Other than some usual temporary disruptions to adjust equipment to produce summer blend gasoline here, there are no such external disruptions this year.
Indeed, the Department of Energy says gasoline consumption is continuing to fall to record low levels.
The DOE is predicting on that basis that gas prices nationwide this summer will be 16 cents a gallon below last year’s levels.
Typically, gas prices hit their yearly highs around Memorial Day and then fall gradually through the summer and fall until they reach their yearly lows just before Christmas.
Local prices at some stations Thursday were just below $3.60 at such sources as Costco, several Arco stations and some Fred Meyer gas stations.