Gas Prices Jump Up in NW

By Tom Bacon

Hold tight, drivers - we're on another gasoline price roller-coaster ride.

Gas station in Sandpoint, ID in January.Gasoline prices in Idaho have jumped more than a nickel a gallon just in the past week.  Average prices in Idaho are more than 26 cents a gallon higher than a year ago - and a whopping 42 cents a gallon more than just a month ago.  Still, Idaho fuel prices are below the national average of $3.68 a gallon.

Washington State drivers pay an average $3.63 a gallon right now, although prices around Spokane are less than that.  And Oregon's not far behind at $3.61.

There's more - If Democratic lawmakers in the Washington legislature get their way, the state tax on gasoline will jump another dime a gallon to 47.5 cents.  The last state tax increase came in 2005.

The proposal is part of a larger tax package designed to pay for road and bridge repairs in the state. It would probably face the stiffest resistance in the state senate which is controlled by Republicans and two Democrats who crossed the aisle to join them.

Analysts said that crude oil prices have steadily risen since mid-December - from roughly $87 a barrel for benchmark crude to about $96 now.  An AAA official said refinery shutdowns and cutbacks have curtailed the supply of gasoline around the country.

Photo: Gas station in Sandpoint, ID in January. Photo by Paige Browning.
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