Why are gas prices so high in Seattle? Here's what we know

Gas prices in Seattle are on the rise, leaving drivers feeling the pinch at the pump and asking: why are gas prices so high?

A AAA gas report Thursday reveals a concerning trend that is impacting wallets across the region.

According to AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross, the national average for a gallon of gas has climbed three pennies to $3.56 since last week. 

"Renewed Ukrainian attacks on Russia’s oil infrastructure and increasing tension in the Middle East spiked oil prices recently," Gross explained. "With the cost of oil accounting for roughly 60% of what we pay at the pump, there will likely be some upward pressure on prices."

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports a significant rise in gas demand from 8.72 to 9.23 million barrels per day (b/d) last week. However, this surge in demand coincides with a decrease in total domestic gasoline stocks by 4.2 million barrels to 227.8 million barrels. The combination of higher demand and rising oil prices is contributing to the uptick in pump prices.

States with the largest increases

Since last Thursday, states such as Indiana (+19 cents), Arizona (+19 cents), and California (+17 cents) have seen substantial increases in their average gas prices.

Top 10 most expensive markets

California leads the pack with an average of $5.20 per gallon, followed by Hawaii ($4.69), Washington ($4.57), Nevada ($4.49) and Oregon at $4.33 per gallon. The last five to round out the top 10 include Alaska ($4.18), Arizona ($3.97), Illinois ($3.91), Utah ($3.87) and Idaho, ($3.75). 

aaa gas chart

Today’s national average of $3.56 is 21 cents more than a month ago and six cents more than a year ago.

Oil market dynamics

Despite the increase in oil prices, which settled at $85.43 per barrel at the close of Wednesday's formal trading session, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an increase of 3.2 million barrels from the previous week. U.S. crude oil inventories, at 451.4 million barrels, are about 2% below the five-year average for this time of year.

Seattle's gas prices

For drivers in the Seattle area, the situation is particularly challenging. The current average gas prices for Seattle-Bellevue-Everett are as follows:

  • Regular: $4.728
  • Mid-Grade: $4.963
  • Premium: $5.172
  • Diesel: $4.930

Comparing these figures to the averages from yesterday, last week, a month ago, and a year ago shows a steady increase, with the current prices well above the national average.

As tensions abroad and domestic demand continue to impact the oil market, drivers in Seattle can expect to see further increases at the pump. It's a reminder for residents to consider alternative transportation options and fuel-efficient driving practices during these challenging times.


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