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Gov. Gregoire targets high gas prices | WA drivers pay $4.24/gallon
Gov. Christine Gregoire called on the state's Department of Commerce to assume the lead in trying to bring down gas prices in Washington.
Washington is feeling the pain at the pump the most with an average price of $4.24/gallon. Washington ranks behind only Hawaii, Alaska and California. The current national average is $3.66/gallon.
"Washington citizens are frustrated with having to pay gasoline prices that are significantly higher than those paid in other parts of the country," Gregoire said in an announcement last week. "While gasoline prices in most of the nation continue to slowly decline, prices in Washington and the entire West Coast have risen or held steady over the past month. State residents and businesses are currently paying some of the highest prices for gasoline and diesel in the nation. If fuel prices remain high for an extended period, they will have a detrimental effect on the state economy."
Gregoire directed the Commerce Department to focus on:
• Monitoring Washington and West Coast gasoline, diesel, and other materials prices and regularly report to the governor's office
• Provide assistance to other state agencies in their work related to high gasoline and diesel prices, including reporting any market concerns to the Attorney General's office
• Coordinate information and analysis with the appropriate energy agencies in California and Oregon
• Make recommendations on what, if any action, that the Department of Commerce or governor's office should take under the Energy Supply Emergencies and Alerts authority, where such action would help reduce petroleum product prices
• Provide any additional recommendations that could help reduce petroleum product prices
The governor called on every refinery in Washington to maximize output in order to lower the harsh prices citizens are facing at the pumps.
Gregoire wrote that they should "take all prudent measures to increase production and supplies sufficiently to reduce the costs for consumers on the West Coast. I would also appreciate hearing any recommendations you might have for actions we might take to help mitigate the causes and impacts of higher gas prices."
The governor's office notes she intended to send similar letters to every refinery in California.