Why is Gas So Cheap on the Yakama Reservation? Here’s Your Answer
It's certainly no secret. Gas is cheaper on the Yakama Reservation. Many people take the drive to Wapato every week to find a price that's usually well below the state average.
YOU'LL FIND CHEAPER GAS AT MOST TRIBAL STATIONS SAVING YOU AN AVERAGE OF ALMOST .50 CENTS
A report by the Washington Policy Center, https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/ looked at tribal gas stations around the state and found on average prices were 48 cents cheaper per gallon. That's good news for drivers in Central Washington who can take advantage of the savings. If more tribal stations open that's not good news for the state which will lose big tax dollars.
A US SUPREME COURT RULING ALLOWS YAKAMA'S TO SELL CHEAPER GAS
So how come reservation gas is so cheap? It's the result of a federal court ruling that bars the state from collecting gas taxes on gas sales at Indian operated stations. A federal court ruling that was affirmed by the US Supreme Court in 2019.
THE COURT SITED THE YAKAMA TREATY
The ruling by justices sited the 1855 Yakama Treaty saying it protects the Yakama nation from having taxes even out of state fuel brought to the reservation. The 5-4 ruling by the court says Yakamas have the right to travel freely on "all highways and bring goods to market."
MORE TRIBAL STATIONS MEANS THE DOT IS LOOKING FOR REVENUE IN OTHER AREAS
23 tribes in the state now have an agreement with the state with the number of tribal gas stations growing since 2000 from 14 to 51 stations.
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Gallery Credit: Hannah Lang