Updated: Jul 21
What a difference a border can make. Washington gas prices are surging, forcing many folks in the eastern part of the state to northern Idaho for a cheaper fill-up. That means more revenue for Idaho's transportation system.
The comparison in cost is more stark than ever before. Triple A says the average price for a gallon of gas in Washington is currently $4.56 per gallon. In Idaho, the price is $3.63 per gallon.
There's always been a difference between Idaho and Washington prices - after all, Washington's gas tax is nearly 20 cents more per gallon. This year, however, the price difference is more extreme - especially since January. Why? What happened in January to cause the spike?
Some media outlets, including this article in today's Spokesman-Review, are trying to lay the blame at OPEC and oil companies. But oil prices today are only slightly higher than they were in January.
Unfortunately, the reporter makes no mention of the biggest issue that is causing prices to rise in Washington - the state's new energy taxes. Those energy taxes - which some estimates peg at about 50-cents more per gallon - started in January. That just so happens to be the time when we saw Washington's price beginning to rise.
It was pretty clear that prices were going to increase as a result of the new taxes, as Todd Myers of the Washington Policy Center points out. Even Washington state officials who supported the energy taxes admitted there would be some impact.
Those who live on the border with Idaho have options to cross over to fill up. But for those in central and western Washington, the pain will continue - and the evidence of what is to blame is crystal clear.