Gasoline prices are galloping higher, with the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel topping $2.57 in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area on Tuesday, according to AAA.
That’s a new inflation-unadjusted record. Around Snohomish County, some stations are charging more than $2.69 a gallon.
The cost of diesel also was at a record level of nearly $2.76 a gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. In recent weeks, the averages have risen about a penny a day, according to AAA’s daily price tracking service.
That’s not unusual this time of year, said Fred Rozell, retail gasoline expert at the Oil Price Information Service.
“Traditionally, we’ve seen prices go up through the end of August,” Rozell said, explaining that the last few weeks of the vacation season help drive up demand.
Even though fuel prices were rising at this time last year, the regional average was just $1.96.
This year, stronger worldwide demand for crude oil and its main derivative, gasoline, has combined with Middle East upheaval and problems at some U.S. refineries to drive up prices.
On Tuesday, the price of crude oil reached an unprecedented $64 a barrel but closed the day’s trading at $63.07.
Despite all that, Rozell said he expects gasoline prices to fall as usual after Labor Day weekend.
But even if gasoline gets cheaper, the federal Energy Information Administration and other forecasters are warning that heating oil and natural gas could be noticeably more expensive this fall and winter.
Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.