Tax spurs price jump at Washington pumps

OLYMPIA — The price of gas may be going down nationally, but Washington drivers may see slightly higher prices at the pump as the state's gas tax makes the first of a two-step increase.

The state gas tax increased by 7 cents a gallon Saturday, bringing total state gas taxes up to 44.5 cents a gallon. Adding in the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents, total gas taxes in Washington are now 62.9 cents a gallon.

Because the tax is paid by fuel wholesalers, not added directly to prices at the pump, it's uncertain how much of an increase drivers will see.

The increase is the first of two that are part of a $16 billion revenue package approved by the Legislature this year. The 16-year plan pays for transportation projects across Washington. Next summer, the tax will increase an additional 4.9 cents a gallon.