Gas Prices Could Rise to $4.50 This Weekend
Analysts are predicting a spike in gas prices across the northwest that could send the price per gallon up 10 to 35 cents.
An expert with the website GasBuddy.com said prices will jump because of a supply shortage that is impacting the entire West Coast region.
Two refineries in California are shut down for an annual maintenance check up, and the BP refinery in Western Washington has been shut down since February because of a fire.
The refinery shut downs have led to the smallest supply of gas for the West Coast since March of 1999.
Gregg Laskoski, GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst, said Memorial Day weekend has nothing to do with the possible rise in prices.
"This is strictly a supply issue, it's very defined to [the Tri-Cities and Yakima] region," Laskoski said. "It has to do with the refinery outputs that have been below normal since February, this didn't just happen overnight."
People filling up their cars today were not too pleased to see the prices around $4.15 today at local gas stations.
Amanda Eggert, visiting her fiancé in Pullman, said she is spending nearly $100 a week on gas, and if prices keep going up it is going to lead to some significant changes.
"I am hopeful that the prices will go down just like everyone else," Eggert said. "Until then, I think everyone's just trying to make due the best they can."
Another GasBuddy.com analyst said the Tri-Cities could be spared by the increase in gas prices over the weekend because stations have the option of getting gas from the Rocky Mountain gas region; which is much cheaper.
However, gas prices are always fickle, he added, and we will not know if they rise sharply or go down until drivers see the prices at the pump.