Industry experts say the collapse of the Skagit River bridge on Interstate 5 shouldn't have a major impact on Whatcom County gas prices.
Tim Hamilton, executive director of the Automotive United Trades Organization, said in an email that with the way the infrastructure is currently set up in this region, Whatcom and Skagit County gas stations should continue to receive deliveries without much delay.
Nearly all of the Puget Sound refineries are north of the bridge, and fuel produced at those refineries is loaded on trucks for delivery to stations in this area. Fuel from those refineries also is transported to truck-loading terminals farther south in Seattle and Renton through pipelines.
The fuel historically hauled from Seattle back up north of the bridge is not significant in volume, Hamilton said. He also expects that a decrease in consumption locally as travelers seek to avoid the traffic problems should balance out the expected drop in volume from the south.
Mid-day wholesale gas prices in the Pacific Northwest were actually down slightly Friday, May 24, said Dave Overstreet of AAA Wash-ington. He said it’s possible that fewer people will travel over the Memorial Day holiday because of the potential traffic mess, which would further reduce demand.