SEATTLE — Washington gasoline prices rose 7.7 cents per gallon in the week ended March 14, to an average of $3.20, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 2,666 stations in Washington. The average price in Washington was 40.4 cents per gallon higher than a month earlier and stood 31.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Washington was priced at $2.62 while the most expensive was $3.79, a difference of $1.17. 

The national average price of gasoline rose 5.9 cents per gallon in the same week ending Sunday, averaging $2.86. The national average is up 33.2 cents per gallon from a month ago and is 64.0 cents higher than a year ago.

It is the highest level of gasoline prices on March 15 since the years 2011 through 2014.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, had this market assessment: “As Americans turn optimistic on COVID-19 pandemic recovery, we’ve been seeing insatiable demand for gasoline, which continues to recover far faster than oil production.”

According to GasBuddy data, last week’s gasoline demand was just 1% below the pre-pandemic level, an extremely bullish factor likely to continue driving gas and oil prices up in the short term, DeHaan said.

“The recovery in the last few weeks has been astounding,” DeHaan said. “Both the speed and overall volume increases we’ve seen in our data lend credibility to the recovery, and perhaps will lead to continued price increases due to the continued imbalance between supply and demand. It’s no longer a question of if we’ll see gasoline demand return to near normal this year but when, and will oil producers rise to the occasion and be able to quickly ramp up output, or are we going to see the highest summer prices since 2014 until they jump into action? Only time will tell, but it’s looking like things are heating up far more than expected since the start of the year.”