Local gas prices inched up

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Average retail gasoline prices in Tacoma have risen 0.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.98 per gallon, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 271 gas outlets in Tacoma. This compares with the national average that has fallen 1.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.50/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Tacoma during the past week, prices yesterday were 22.8 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 1.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has decreased 7.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 22.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

“Even as oil prices were in rally mode to end last week, gasoline prices continued lower with the national average moving lower for the third consecutive week. But March typically comes in more like a lamb and goes out like a lion, and I certainly would expect more fireworks at the pump as temperatures begin to warm and gasoline demand begins to perk up,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Many places have seen at least the first step towards summer gasoline already made. Unlike the transition from summer to winter gasoline that is much simpler, the transition to the more strict fuel coming into the regulated summer months is a bit trickier, especially considering the amount of work going into refineries ahead of the summer driving season, which is more like the running of the bulls where refineries try to stay ahead of the rise in demand. No matter what happens with oil, any curveball to this work has a tendency to act as a spark in the combustion process- something will likely ignite gas prices, but it’s unpredictable when and to what degree.”

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