Gov. Chris Gregoire is directing the state Department of Commerce to monitor rising gas prices in the state and is asking the agency to recommend what actions can be taken to help reduce costs to drivers.

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Gov. Chris Gregoire is directing the state Department of Commerce to monitor rising gas prices in the state and is asking the agency to recommend what actions can be taken to help reduce costs to drivers.

Gregoire on Friday also sent letters to every refinery in Washington and California asking them to “take all prudent measures to increase production and supplies sufficiently to reduce the costs for consumers on the West Coast.”

Washington state now has the fourth highest gas prices in the nation, behind Hawaii, Alaska and California, according to auto club AAA. Washington’s average price for regular fuel is now $4.24 a gallon, compared to the $3.66 national average. Some analysts are predicting a hike in gas prices along the West Coast this weekend by as much as 35 cents a gallon, even as prices in other parts of the country are expected to drop.