Washington Surpasses California as State with Highest Gas Prices

June 21, 2023

The average price of gas in Washington has jumped 32 cents per gallon, surpassing California by 7 cents to become the state with the highest average price in the nation. 

According to AAA, a gallon of regular gas in Washington is now $4.93 per gallon.

Before now, GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan said that Washington had never been the state with the highest gas prices, going back to when his organization first started tracking prices, in 2005.

De Haan attributed the price hike in part to the “transition to summer gasoline that’s recorded by the EPA.”

“You have millions of vehicles around in Seattle and most of the nation as well, so most of the summer gas tries to cut down on low level ozone. Now of course to create something that’s clear burning is more expensive, but generally that’s why prices disconnect,” he said.

That’s despite the presence of five oil refineries around Puget Sound—an area that contends with some of Washington’s highest gas prices. Some consumers in Washington are paying well over $5 per gallon, according to AAA.

Some oil analysts and officials attribute Washington’s soaring prices to a greater imbalance between supply and demand on the West Coast, noting that gas has been in shorter supply due in part to the closure of several California refineries. 

California, however, has been the most expensive state for gas roughly 95% of that time, but it’s currently enjoying a price drop of $1.53 per gallon over this same period last year.

Further, the average price is down $1.39 nationwide over this time last year, to an average $3.58 per gallon. That plunge in prices comes despite worries about the economy and the Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation. Gas had hit a $5.02 per gallon average last June in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The state whose prices have dropped the most year-to-year is Delaware, where the average price per gallon is currently at $3.58—down $1.61 since last June.

Alaska, Indiana, Michigan and Texas have all also experienced price drops of more than $1.50 per gallon year-to-year.

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