Why Is Mercer Island Gas 17% More Expensive?

CNN reports that national gas prices have fallen to $1.92 per gallon on average.

So why are Mercer Island and other Seattle-area gas stations charging $2.23?

Gas Prices on Mercer Island

Shell Station near ICW. The Shell near Mercerdale has gas at $2.23, or 16% higher than the national average.


9 responses to “Why Is Mercer Island Gas 17% More Expensive?

  1. Washington State 2007-2008 Gas Price Study

    Attorney General Rob McKenna released the final results from the state’s year-long investigation into gas prices in April 2008. The investigation, which included an in-depth analysis of factors influencing prices at the pump, found variations across Washington communities are due to the cost of obtaining and transporting fuel to stations and local competition – not illegal price manipulation. Increasing worldwide demand for oil and an inability for regional refineries to meet local supply demands are the primary contributors to erratically climbing prices, experts added. Results from the investigation are included in a 67-page report available here.


  2. I’ve noticed that gas on Mercer Island is always 10 cents to 20 cents more expensive than gas in Seattle or the Eastside. I’m a Mercer Island resident and I try to avoid buying gas on the island as I can get it cheaper by my work in Redmond. I guess the station oweners assume everyone who lives on Mercer Island are wealthy. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those wealthy individuals. Love your Blog by the way!

  3. mercerislandblogger

    We avoid buying here too, but sometimes we get stuck. And thanks for the comment Mark!

  4. I paid 1.89 @ gallon at Costco yesterday.

  5. Just returned from the East Coast where regular was available for $1.61. Hmmph~!

  6. Somebody at MI Reporter a year or two ago did an expose on gas prices. Can’t find the ref right now, but I seem to remember the conclusion was that stations here buy from a more expensive source. It all comes down to competition.

  7. mercerislandblogger

    @Mike: Thanks for the Attorney General’s study. “The investigation found variations across Washington communities are due to the cost of obtaining and transporting fuel to stations and local competition.” Still strange that MI gas is so expensive– we’re near the crossroads of I-90 and I-5, the two major roads in the state, and only 10 miles from the port. So it’s definitely not transportation costs. Maybe local competition?

    @Jason- thanks for the tip.

  8. I won’t completely discount our service stations owners using the Mercer Island premium (I cringe when service businesses ask for my address), but I don’t think they are taking advantage of Islanders. Pete on the south end drives a baby blue late model Ford Fairmont (or equivalent) and the north end station is family owned/operated of modest means. I suspect their books would simply show a relatively low volume compared to operating expenses, ie rent.

    I would like to comment about the passing of an era occurring at Pete’s station. Pete’s converting to the newer more efficient and thereby more competitive swipe and pump service pumps. Call me nostalgic, but I enjoyed the personal interaction of manually processing the credit card. I took a little pleasure at the inconvenience of having to find Jeff or Brian under a car to ask them to “please reset the pumps so I can spend my money.” Fueling at Pete’s station had a soothing effect of slowing the days pace. About half the time, someone would walk out and watch as I pump. Doesn’t take an MBA to see this inefficiency, but I will miss the Rockwellian experience of talking about the weather and complaining about gas prices while watching the numbers click on the dial.

  9. Pingback: Mercer Island Gas– More Info, But Still High « Surrounded By Water: A Mercer Island Blog

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