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Gas hits $4 a gallon again on Bainbridge Island

The price of gas jumped 10 cents over the weekend on Bainbridge Island and has once again shot past the $4-a-gallon mark.

The cost of a gallon of regular gas was $3.99 late last week at service stations on High School Road.

On Monday, the cost was $4.09 for a gallon of regular at the 76 gas station near High School Road and Highway 305, and the price was also $4.09 at the Chevron station on the other side of the street.

The price was even steeper for premium fuel, with a gallon of "plus" grade selling for $4.31 at the 76 station and for $4.23 at the Chevron station.

The spike in prices on the island follows a statewide trend.

According to the AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in Washington state was $3.97 Monday, up from $3.87 a week ago.

In the nine metro regions of Washington state that are tracked by the Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the Bellingham area had the highest average price for a gallon of regular gas Monday; $4.11. The lowest price was reported in Spokane; $3.75. The cost of a gallon of regular gas in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area was reported at $4.01 on Aug. 20.

The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.72.

The cost of gas previously hit $4 a gallon on Bainbridge Island in February.

Gas prices still have a bit to climb before hitting the historic high in Washington state. The previous record — set July 6, 2008 — is $4.35 per gallon of regular.

David Overstreet, a spokesman for AAA Washington, said local gas prices are still being impacted by the fire earlier this month at a Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif.

"That's still an impact and will continue to impact us for a while," Overstreet said.

"When that fire happened, the supplies on the West Coast were already tight," he added.

Other factors in the cost of gas include the specific blends that are used on the West Coast, which are more costly to produce, and the high demand for gas during the summer.

Also, the price of crude oil is a contributing factor. Crude oil prices have been influenced by events in the Middle East, geopolitical tensions with Iran, and the performance of the U.S. dollar against other currencies, Overstreet said.

"The price of crude oil has gone above $90 a barrel and it has stayed there," he said.

While other parts of the country have lower gas prices and prices vary from state to state, Overstreet said the cost of gas is typically higher in Western Washington due to supply and distribution issues.

"We are isolated from the main refinery and distribution system out of the Gulf Coast area. We're kind of on an island of our own in the West Coast," he said.

Prices in Eastern Washington tend to be lower because of fuel coming from Exxon's Yellowstone Pipeline out of Billings, Mont.

Overstreet said the refinery fire in Richmond, Calif. was "fairly significant" and recalled one prediction that the refinery may be off-line for another eight weeks.

That said, gas prices appear to have remained constant in the past few days in the Puget Sound region, he said.

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