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Gas prices expected to rise in the coming weeks

With refineries processing less crude oil and getting ready to slow down for the switch to cleaner burning summer gasoline, Whatcom County residents should expect gas prices to start rising again in the coming weeks, according to GasBuddy.com.
With refineries processing less crude oil and getting ready to slow down for the switch to cleaner burning summer gasoline, Whatcom County residents should expect gas prices to start rising again in the coming weeks, according to GasBuddy.com. AP

Whatcom County residents should expect gas prices to start rising again in the coming weeks.

That’s the assessment of experts at GasBuddy.com, a website that monitors gas prices across North America. While the average national price dipped to $2.02 a gallon last week and is expected to drop under $2 this week, it will not stay this low for long, according to the company’s most recent outlook report.

That’s because refineries are currently processing less crude oil and it is nearly time for refineries to slow down more as the switch is made to cleaner burning summer gasoline, said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. This is also a time when refineries do regular maintenance work.

He added that last year’s seasonal rise in prices began in the second week of February and lasted until the beginning of May. This year’s spring prices are expected to rise about 35 cents a gallon nationally, so overall prices will remain far lower than last year.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Bellingham on Monday, Jan. 26 was $2.15, according AAA Washington’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That’s down 44 cents a gallon from a month ago and $1.27 a gallon from a year ago. Spokane has the lowest price among Washington’s major metro areas, averaging $1.73 a gallon. Seattle has the highest, at $2.33 a gallon.

Diesel prices are averaging $2.64 a gallon in Bellingham, down $1.32 a gallon compared to a year ago. It’s the lowest average price among major metro areas in Washington. The highest is in Olympia, at $2.95 a gallon.

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