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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Sen. Karen Keiser: We’ve got the refineries — and the high gas prices?

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, is calling for Attorney General Rob McKenna to investigate whether oil companies selling in Washington are price-gouging.

Washingtonians have seen gas prices rise 29 percent in three months, Keiser said, despite what should be minimal transportation, refining and blending costs.

After all, the state is a major receiving point for Alaskan crude oil. Washington has five refineries, capable of processing 576,000 barrels of oil a day.

Yet anyone looking for a disparity in gas prices need only look east, Keiser said. In Idaho -- with no facilities to receive crude oil and no refineries to process it -- she said gas prices have risen only 17 percent in the same period of time.

And while part of the surge in prices has been blamed nationally on a changeover to blended ethanol fuels, she said, Washington has no ethanol requirement yet. In Montana, which does, gas prices rose only 20 percent in the same period.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.