Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Gas prices slam West Coast drivers

Gas prices have dropped across the United States, with the exception of California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

By Karen Datko May 15, 2012 2:47PM

Image: Buying gas (© moodboard/Corbis/Corbis)While gasoline prices continue to fall elsewhere across the nation, West Coast drivers are getting walloped with prices way above the $4 mark, and one prediction has them jumping an additional 12 cents by next week.


"Regular self-serve gasoline in Washington was selling Monday for an average $4.20 -- more than 47 cents higher than the national average, according to the AAA auto club. That gap has more than doubled in the past month," The Seattle Times reports. (Post continues below.)

Nationwide, the average today is $3.727, down from $3.763 a week ago and far below the $3.907 average a month ago, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Report.


That's cause to rejoice, unless you happen to live in one of these states: 

  • Alaska, where the average price today is $4.497.
  • California, $4.357, an increase of more than 15 cents in the last week.
  • Oregon, $4.186, about 16 cents higher than a week ago.
  • Washington, $4.212, more than 12 cents higher.

Why the big difference in gas prices on the coast? BP has been unable to restart a Washington refinery damaged by fire in February. Meanwhile, four of California's 12 refineries are closed for maintenance.

"Gasoline supplies in California are down more than 20% from a year ago. West Coast gasoline stocks haven't been this low in the month of May since May 1992, according to the Department of Energy," The Associated Press reports.

Several analysts predicted that high West Coast prices will last through Independence Day.


Are you paying these prices at the pump? How are you adjusting your budget?


More from MSN Money:

May 15, 2012 4:11PM
Is there anything in life that is not manipulated anymore?  Convenient to have refineries down for maintenance when BP is down and just before a summer holiday..... its such BS.
May 15, 2012 11:57PM
yOU folks on the left coast wanted change... now you are getting it.  Hey but you still have hope right?  If we hang on for another four years to this administration and the dismal energy policies they eschew, the change in our pockets will be worthless and $4.00 a gal gas will seem like the good ole days.
May 16, 2012 6:27AM

"four of California's 12 refineries are closed for maintenance"


Remeber when Enron and friends orchestrated "maintenance" at electric plants to create rolling blackouts so they could rape the state on the spot market?



May 16, 2012 3:08AM
This stinking state government should not let 1/3 of the states refineries close down for scheduled maintenance at the same time!! Hey Gov., get your head out of your ****!!!
May 15, 2012 3:29PM
That's right... put Obama back in office... watch that go to over $5.00 a gallon.... you wanted change... well how do you like it now?????
May 16, 2012 6:56AM
This continuing rise in Gas,Medical Bills,Insurance & I'm sure I'm leaving out some ,they r the ones running this country.DC is just the front man to funnel our $ to thier greedy bank accts. Yea we got changed,just the bent over position changed ,nothing else....
May 15, 2012 4:42PM
Refineries always are undergoing maintenance leading into and in the summer months in California; the excuse for sky high prices for decades.  Tough enough being Greece and having a moron governor (duly elected) on top of that.  This state is the king of rip-offs and political malfeasance.
May 15, 2012 6:01PM
you want oil prices to drop you need to stop whining and start voting if you put pressure at the local level on politicians it will work its way up the ladder. People do what they want because there is no repercussions. the real problem is people buy into the lamest excuses like no refineries. For gds sake an airline just bought their own refinery. If you want to get at these bstrds lets all agree there is no republican party or democratic party just the people party lets try common sense and fairness it can work because most people like other people and I like to be of benefit to others
May 15, 2012 4:31PM

Prices have been going up, and the media has been spouting the prices are going down.  Problem: the reports are always at least a week or two behind the facts.  Just like the "Jobs Report: Jobs are increasing."  Where, might I ask, is that? Oh.  It's in the Washington Labor Department reports.  Too bad the so-called experts are just beaurocrats, instead of real p[eople actually looking for work.

It's all "smoke and mirrors."

All the politicians will slant any report to suit their own reelection needs.

May 15, 2012 8:15PM
Watch the price go down right before the election.
May 15, 2012 8:48PM


The oil companys have us right where they want us


May 16, 2012 1:04AM
Did you ever notice that refineries go down for maintenance at the peak use point of the year. Why not in the off season when usage is at it's lowest.

As a maintenance planner my self, I would never pull a piece of equipment off of the line during the most crucial production periods. As a matter of fact, I spend the off production period making sure the equipment is up with backups for the peak season I wouldn't have my job for very long if I didn't.

I also notice that fires erupt right about now as well. I remember the great fire in the summer of 79 when one of the only two operating antifreeze manufacturing plants burned. Curiously it was the one that supplied the west coast and during the hottest part of the year. Of course antifreeze prices sky rocketed to ridiculous for 1979 ($5.00 a gallon).

What put an end to that chicanery was the fact that cars can run without antifreeze, so people just changed their pressure caps and used plain water and kept an eye on their water temperature until the supplies built up and the price dropped. I have never seen the prices on antifreeze spike like that again... hhhmmm!

May 16, 2012 12:22AM
if the oil companies are making so little how are they posting multi billions in profits every quarter
May 15, 2012 8:20PM
My welfare check doesn't cover the cost of the rising gas prices. My food stamps aren't buying me as many drugs as they used to. What has happened to our president? He said he was going to make everything ok. I may have to get a job soon and I don't want to give up my welfare to get a job...What's a guy to do???
May 16, 2012 9:28AM
Hope is on the way, Obama has just ordered Detroit to come up with a car that runs with a windmill on its roof.
May 15, 2012 4:08PM
Is there anything in life that is not manipulated anymore?  Convenient to have refineries down for maintenance when BP is down and just before a summer holiday..... its such BS.
May 16, 2012 1:18AM
Man I feel lucky. Gas is only $3.70 a gallon here.(Geez) It was $3.60 last week. Notice how gas goes up 7 or 8 cents a gallon at a time, but only goes down 1 or 2 cents at a time. They need to make cars that feed off of milk, that way we are only spending 2.75 a gallon. oh wait, milks going up too! We all heard in 08 that change is coming! Well it sure has.. GBA!
May 16, 2012 3:07PM

congress and the president are self-serving crooks and liars,  don't need to be a republican or democrat to know right from wrong and act upon it.

May 15, 2012 8:37PM

We have our own refineries and a crude pipeline right here in Alaska. So why are we paying so much for gas? It certainly is not due to lack of availability!! For some reason we are ALWAYS paying more for gasoline than anywere else.


The price of heating oil has gone down by .10 in the last couple of weeks but gasoline has gone up .14 in the same time frame. How much sense does that make? Now that summer is here and heating oil usage goes down but gasoline usage goes up. How much you want to bet that next fall the reverse will be true?


The oil companies are getting fat off of us here in Alaska.

May 15, 2012 6:17PM
I live near Seattle, there is VERY limited if any public transportation in my area, so driving my own car is my only option to get my kids to daycare and myself to work. I don't do extra driving - I get my kids to daycare, go to work, pick up my kids, and then go home. If I have to shop at the grocery store, I try to do it on my way home so I'm not making an extra trip. These gas prices are killing my already super tight budget....
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.