Weeks after gas prices in Washington state hit a record high, prices are starting to descend, due in part to lower local demand.

In the Seattle area, gas prices are down 7% at $5.26 per gallon on July 18 from a peak of $5.65 last month, according to an analysis of federal Energy Information Administration data.

AAA attributes this steady decline to a much lower global price for oil and shrinking demand for gas at the domestic pump. Currently, the cost of a barrel is in the mid-$90s, down from about $110 two weeks ago. 

As of July 15, the average barrels of crude oil consumed had dropped 3% from the end of June, EIA data further showed.  

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In Washington, Wahkiakum County in Southwest Washington and the remote San Juan Islands reported the highest gas prices, followed by King County and other counties of the southwest region, according to the latest available data from AAA. 


Consumers are most likely to find the best gas prices in Washington outside Seattle city limits in Skagit, Snohomish and Pierce counties, according to gas price tracker GasBuddy.com. 

Within King County, the tracker found the best deals primarily at Costco. 

The price for a gallon of gas is predominantly composed of the cost of crude oil (59%) and refining (26%). The rest covers taxes (11%) and distribution and marketing (5%).

Nationally, the cost of gas is higher on the West Coast in part due to the higher state taxes levied on crude oil. On July 18, the price of a gallon of gas averaged $5.09 in Washington, while nationally it was $4.49. 

Washington’s gas tax ranked third-highest after Pennsylvania and California.

In June, Seattle-area consumers paid 10.2% more than the national city average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When gas prices last spiked during the 2008 financial crisis, Seattle area consumers paid 5% more than the national average, according to an analysis of BLS data.

Per the 18th Amendment to Washington state’s Constitution, gas taxes are used exclusively for ‘highway purposes,’ which includes the construction, maintenance and repair of roads, bridges and ferries. The tax may not be used for public transportation, relocation of utilities or debt payments.

With the state’s new Climate Commitment Act now passed, Washington drivers are likely to witness a further rise in gas prices when the law goes into effect early next year.