According to data from AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded was at $4.89 on Monday in the Evergreen State, an increase from $4.81 the previous week.
The Center Square reported that the latest increase marks the 20th consecutive week of rising fuel prices for Washingtonians since the new carbon tax was implemented earlier this year.
The most recent increase was in the opposite direction from the national average, which decreased from $3.59 to $3.57 per gallon during the same time period.
As a result, Washington just surpassed California’s gas prices to become the most expensive in the US. California is currently holding at $4.86 per gallon, down four cents per gallon from the previous week.
Washington’s fuel prices are $1.32 per gallon higher than the national average of $3.57 per gallon and $1.90 per gallon above the country’s least expensive fuel costs in Mississippi of $2.99 per gallon.
Many are blaming the increase on the state’s new carbon tax program, passed by Democratic lawmakers last year and implemented on Jan. 1.
According to Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center, due to the second carbon auction which finished on May 31, the carbon tax imposed by Democratic lawmakers may be as high as 45 cents per gallon.
Myers said in a report, “Although Washington is paying more for CO2 emissions than California, that additional cost doesn’t help the environment – it just harms our economy. As long as the governor and agency staff continue to deny that reality, Washington residents will pay a high price for energy, but won’t receive the environmental benefits they are paying for.”
Myers also noted that the Department of Ecology has scrubbed the agency’s web page of claims that the fuel prices would not increase and "...significantly increased the estimated impact of the tax on CO2 emissions on Washington’s economy."
Despite warnings that the tax would increase gas prices, some in the media “fact-checked” those claims using information from the Washington Department of Ecology in an effort to debunk the theory that gas prices would increase.
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