A major investigation into the price of gasoline in Washington state uncovered no illegal activity, and discrepancies were explained by differences in wholesale gas prices, according to a report released Thursday by the state Attorney General's Office.
The $161,000 study, by University of Washington economist Keith Leffler, found the range between the highest and lowest wholesale gas price in the state was 3.4 cents per gallon.
"Competition can be particularly influenced by the number of hypermarketers, which are large retailers such as Costco, Wal-Mart and Safeway, that sell gas in the market area," the study found. "Other contributing factors include wages paid to station attendants, property values and the number of vehicles per station."
...."We're importing higher-priced refined gasoline to meet consumer demand, which raises average prices at the pump," Attorney General Rob McKenna said in a prepared statement Thursday. "Any glitches in the supply system can cause significant price spikes. Meanwhile, crude oil costs nearly four times as much as it did five years ago."
The last comprehensive study on Washington gas prices was published in July 1991.
Ho hum: Price is a function of supply and demand.