OKANOGAN – Average retail gasoline prices across the state have fallen 0.6 cent per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.73 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 2,666 gas outlets in Washington.
That compares with the national average that has fallen 3.2 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.30 per gallon, said gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Washington during the past week, prices yesterday were 48.5 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 12.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 1.9 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 46.6 cents per gallon higher than on Jan. 22 one year ago.
According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on Jan. 23 in Washington have ranged widely over the last five years, including $2.25 per gallon in 2016, $2.18 per gallon in 2015, $3.30 per gallon in 2014, $3.34 per gallon in 2013 and $3.46 per gallon in 2012.
For the second consecutive week, the U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline has slipped. Overall, more states joined in on the falling gas prices, with 42 of the nation’s 50 states seeing average gasoline prices fall over the last week versus 36 states in the previous weekly drop.
The national average stands 46.3 cents higher than a year ago, when prices averaged $1.84 per gallon.
The downward trend has developed not as crude oil prices have declined — they’ve held steady at more than $50 per barrel — but rather as gasoline inventories rise amid anemic demand, according to Gas Buddy.
According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline inventories have risen by 19.3 million barrels in the last three weeks while demand has fallen to 8.37 million barrels per day, nearly 14 percent below peak summer demand.
Adding to the downward pressure in gasoline prices is that inventories overloaded with winter gasoline will soon need to be purged, making way for cleaner blends and ultimately summer gasoline over the next few months. Refiners move lower-spec winter gasoline out of the system by offering temporary discounts, which is why motorists should enjoy the drop while it lasts, GasBuddy said.