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Gas prices creep upward

Beth Munsch, Silverdale, fills up her tank Monday at the Union 76 station at Bucklin Hill Road and Silverdale Way. “I’m not pleased with higher gas prices,” she said, “It’s probably not going to get any better.” - Photo by Kelly Everett
Beth Munsch, Silverdale, fills up her tank Monday at the Union 76 station at Bucklin Hill Road and Silverdale Way. “I’m not pleased with higher gas prices,” she said, “It’s probably not going to get any better.”
— image credit: Photo by Kelly Everett

Noticed an increase at the pump lately?

It hasn’t been a lot. “Nickels and dimes” as one local service-station manager put it. Prices have fluctuated up and down, but over time, the trend has been “up.”

Kitsap Transit’s finance director, Jim Lundstrom, whose buses use enormous quantities of diesel fuel, was hesitant to speculate on the steady rise.

“There are so many variables,” he said. “I think the (political) problems in Venezuela may have a lot to do with recent jumps — there’s no crude (oil) coming out of there at all.”

He also mentioned it was a warm winter, which would imply less fuel demand and lower prices. Overarcing everything, is the Middle East crisis and a possible war with Iraq.

The American Automobile Association tracks fuel prices, but only down to the city level. In other words, they have figures on Bremerton, but not Silverdale, which is unincorporated. Nevertheless, because of the proximity of the two communities, Bremerton trends are interesting:

l Bremerton unleaded regular averages $1.40 currently; was $1.31 a month ago; and was $1.13 last year at this time.

l In Silverdale, four major service stations were contacted, of which three gave current prices. $1.35 per gallon for unleaded regular at Chevron Market Express, 6835 State Highway 303; $1.49 at Ridgetop Market, 1195 N.W. Tahoe Lane; and $1.36 at Silver City Texaco, 9571 Silverdale Way N.W.

Historical prices were not available for Silverdale, but AAA officials said trends probably followed Bremerton. Many who answered calls to CK/Silverdale stations described themselves as managers, not owners, and were unable to supply much information.

Carol Koetz, manager of Ridgetop Market, said gas prices have been going up slowly by “nickels and dimes.”

“Increases started back up in December” at her service station, she commented. The manager or clerk at Silver City, who would only identify herself as “Nan,” confirmed prices have been creeping up “A little.”

The national average for unleaded regular is now $1.50, according to the AAA Web site. A nickel more than Washington’s average and a dime more than Bremerton.

“Your area (CK) has traditionally been lower than elsewhere,” said Jennifer Harbison of the local AAA in Bremerton, on Kitsap Way.

“I’m up from Oregon, where the gas prices are much higher,” said Catherine Grant of Roseberg. “So I’m not complaining ... but the overall rise? I think they’re using the threat of war to do that. It’s an excuse.”

Another person also getting gas at the Texaco Station in Silverdale, Beth Munsch of Silverdale, said “I’m not pleased with the higher prices. It’s probably not going to get any better.”

She said the rise in prices may reflect “fear and speculation” concerning that may happen in Iraq.

Historically, AAA officials nationwide have said understanding why gas prices fluctuate is neither science nor art.

National trends show interesting contrasts with our own area:

Unleaded regular averages $1.504; was $1.457 a month ago; and was $1.119 a year ago at this time.

Other national prices per

gallon:

l Mid-range unleaded, current price, $1.597; premium, $1.655; diesel, $1.560.

l Month ago: mid, $1.547; premium, $1.603; diesel, $1.528.

l Year ago: mid, $1.188; premium, $1.231; diesel, $1.220.

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