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Feb-24-2009 11:57printcomments

Pump Prices Dip Slightly after Increasing for Several Weeks

The Oregon average for regular unleaded drops a couple cents this week to $2.10, while the national average falls six cents to $1.90.

Gas pump
Photo courtesy: blojsom com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Gas Prices are are coming down a little after rising since late December. Oregon's average for regular unleaded drops two cents in the past week to $2.10, while the national average falls six cents to $1.90.

AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, "Pump prices have fallen during a renewed bout of declining stock market averages. Investors continue to worry about the condition of the banking industry, and what the U.S. government may or may not do about it. This scenario makes it very difficult to predict where retail gas prices might be in the coming weeks. However, if the price of crude remains fairly stable, we probably won't see any dramatic movement in pump prices."

Crude oil prices have increased a few dollars in the past week, but have stayed between about $34 and $48 per barrel since early December. Crude today is trading around $39 a barrel, up from about $35 a week ago. The price climbed above $40 later in the week last week, then dropped back into the upper $30 range. The price of crude has plummeted about 73 percent from the record high of $147 a barrel set last July.

According to the latest numbers released by the U.S Energy Information, U.S. refineries operated at about 82 percent of capacity earlier this month, compared to nearly 86 percent a year ago. Dodds says, "The U.S. has no production quotas or price caps, and refineries can choose to process as much or as little crude as they want, based on market forces.

We continue to see U.S. refineries turning less crude oil into gasoline and diesel because of the big drop in consumer demand."

Current pump prices are well below last year's prices when Oregon's average was $3.24 and the national average was $3.14.

Salem has the lowest average price for gas with $2.063, and Portland drivers are paying slightly more at the pump with an average of $2.076 for a gallon of regular. The average in Eugene/Springfield is $2.131, and motorists in the Medford/Ashland area are paying $2.161 at the pump for regular. Drivers in the Vancouver, Washington area are paying an average of $2.174 for self-serve regular.

Eleven states have averages for regular unleaded at or above $2 a gallon, down from 17 last week. The most expensive gas in the country for the 35th week in a row is Alaska at $2.53, followed by Hawaii at $2.45, California at $2.27, Nevada at $2.21, and Washington at $2.10, which is down a penny from last week. Oregon's gas prices are sixth highest, up from seventh highest last week. Missouri has the least expensive gas this week with regular unleaded at $1.68 a gallon.

Diesel prices continue to decline. The national average decreases six cents to $2.26, while Oregon’s average drops six cents to $2.38 Hawaii has the highest statewide average price for diesel again this week at $3.85, followed by Alaska at $3.47, District of Columbia at $2.74, New York at $2.74 and Connecticut at $2.67. Oregon's average diesel price is 14th most expensive for the second week in a row. Washington's diesel price drops six cents to $2.45 and is 11th highest, up from 12th last week. A year ago, the national average for diesel was $3.59 and Oregon's average was $3.52.

Source: Oregon AAA

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