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Tuesday, April 21, 2015


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Average Energy Prices, Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, March 2015

Gasoline prices averaged $2.904 a gallon in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area in March 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that area gasoline prices were down 72.0 cents compared to last March when they averaged $3.624 per gallon. Seattle area households paid an average of 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity in March 2015, the same rate as in March 2014. The average cost of utility (piped) gas at $1.216 per therm in March was similar to the $1.195 per therm spent last year. (Data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year-analysis is used throughout.) 

At $2.904 a gallon, Seattle area consumers paid 14.2 percent more than the $2.544 national average in March 2015. A year earlier, consumers in the Seattle area paid close to the national average for a gallon of gasoline. The local price of a gallon of gasoline has been within 14.2 percent of the national average in the month of March in each of the past five years. (See chart 1.)

 Chart 1. Average prices for gasoline, Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton and the United States, 2011-2015 (as of March)

The 9.6 cents per kWh Seattle households paid for electricity in March 2015 was 29.4 percent less than the nationwide average of 13.6 cents per kWh. Last March, electricity costs were 28.9 percent lower in Seattle compared to the nation. In each of the past five years, prices paid by Seattle area consumers for electricity were less than the U.S. average by at least 28.1 percent in the month of March. (See chart 2.)

 Chart 2. Average prices for electricity, Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton and the United States, 2011-2015 (as of March)

Prices paid by Seattle area consumers for utility (piped) gas, commonly referred to as natural gas, were $1.216 per therm, or 23.5 percent more compared to the national average in March 2015 ($0.985 per therm). A year earlier, area consumers paid 3.6 percent more price per therm for natural gas compared to the nation. In the past five years, the per therm cost for natural gas in March in the Seattle area has varied between 3.6 percent and 28.1 percent above the U.S. average. (See chart 3.)

 Chart 3. Average prices for utility (piped) gas, Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton and the United States, 2011-2015 (as of March)

The Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, Wash. metropolitan area consists of Kitsap, Thurston, Island, King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties of Washington.

Technical Note

Average prices are estimated from Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for selected commodity series to support the research and analytic needs of CPI data users. Average prices for electricity, utility (piped) gas, and gasoline are published monthly for the U.S. city average, the 4 regions, the 3 population size classes, 10 region/size-class cross-classifications, and the 14 largest local index areas. For electricity, average prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and per 500 kWh are published. For utility (piped) gas, average prices per therm, per 40 therms, and per 100 therms are published. For gasoline, the average price per gallon is published. Average prices for commonly available grades of gasoline are published as well as the average price across all grades.

Price quotes for 40 therms and 100 therms of utility (piped) gas and for 500 kWh of electricity are collected in sample outlets for use in the average price programs only. Since they are for specified consumption amounts, they are not used in the CPI. All other price quotes used for average price estimation are regular CPI data.

With the exception of the 40 therms, 100 therms, and 500 kWh price quotes, all eligible prices are converted to a price per normalized quantity. These prices are then used to estimate a price for a defined fixed quantity.

The average price per kilowatt-hour represents the total bill divided by the kilowatt-hour usage. The total bill is the sum of all items applicable to all consumers appearing on an electricity bill including, but not limited to, variable rates per kWh, fixed costs, taxes, surcharges, and credits.  This calculation also applies to the average price per therm for utility (piped) gas.

Information from this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: 202-691-5200, Federal Relay Service: 800-877-8339.

Table 1. Average prices for gasoline, electricty, and utility (piped) gas, Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton and the United States, March 2014-March 2015, not seasonally adjusted
Year and month Gasoline per gallon Electricity per kWh Utillity (piped) gas per therm
Seattle area United States Seattle area United States Seattle area United States


3.624 3.590 0.096 0.135 1.195 1.154


3.795 3.717 0.098 0.131 1.195 1.137


3.920 3.745 0.099 0.136 1.187 1.111


3.977 3.750 0.096 0.143 1.187 1.088


4.007 3.690 0.096 0.143 1.187 1.093


3.881 3.540 0.096 0.143 1.187 1.060


3.794 3.463 0.096 0.141 1.187 1.058


3.448 3.241 0.095 0.136 1.186 1.033


3.048 2.945 0.095 0.134 1.214 1.035


2.884 2.618 0.083 0.135 1.214 1.060


2.348 2.170 0.096 0.138 1.216 1.036


2.358 2.308 0.096 0.138 1.216 1.007


2.904 2.544 0.096 0.136 1.216 0.985


Last Modified Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015