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Jun-04-2020 15:03printcomments

Gas Prices Rise in Oregon as Drivers Return to the Road

The national average dropped to a low of $1.76 in April.

Oregon gas prices
Oregon gas prices plunged in April 2020 to the lowest in 15 years.
Photo by Bonnie King, Salem-News.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Pump prices continue to inch up but are still at the lowest prices for early June in more than a decade. For the week, the national average for regular ticks up two cents to $1.98 a gallon. The Oregon average also adds two cents to $2.45.

The last time the national average was less than $1.98 a gallon this time of year was in early June 2003 when it was $1.48 a gallon. The last time the Oregon average was below $2.45 this time of year was in early June 2005 when it was $2.35.

Rising demand for gas, shrinking gasoline stocks and increasing crude oil prices are putting upward pressure on pump prices.

Gasoline demand is up seven percent week-over-week as states, including Oregon, begin to re-open. But demand is still down nearly 25 percent compared to last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Traffic volumes are increasing here in Oregon and across the country as COVID-related restrictions are eased and states re-open for business.

"The good news is gas prices are still relatively cheap and AAA expects them to remain less expensive than last year.”

One factor that could spark a spike in gas prices is a major hurricane that impacts the Gulf of Mexico which accounts for 17 percent of total U.S. crude oil production.

Here in Oregon, the most recent report from ODOT (May 29) shows an average reduction of 21 percent in weekday traffic volumes and a 37 percent reduction in weekend volumes overall compared to last year at this time. Traffic has been steadily increasing over the past few weeks.

The national average dropped to a low of $1.76 in April and the Oregon average fell to $2.38 in May before starting to rise again. The national average is now just a few cents away from returning to $2 a gallon while the Oregon average is inching back up to $2.50.

Oregon is one of 45 states and the District of Columbia with higher prices now compared to one week ago.

Colorado (+13 cents) and Alaska (+13 cents) have the largest weekly increases. Wisconsin (-1 cent), Indiana (-1 cent) and Michigan (-1/2 cent) are the only three states with weekly decreases. Prices are flat in Illinois and Missouri.

Hawaii ($3.18) remains the only state in the nation with an average at or above $3 a gallon.

The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Mississippi ($1.60) and Louisiana ($1.65). This is the 12th week in a row that one or more states has an average below $2 a gallon. In all, 35 states are below that benchmark, down from 36 a week ago.

Oregon is one of 49 states with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is 20 cents and the Oregon average is seven cents more than a month ago.

Wisconsin (+47 cents) and Michigan (+44 cents) have the biggest month-over-month increases. The District of Columbia (-4 cents) and Hawaii (-1 cent) are the only areas with largest month-over-month decline.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have lower prices now than a year ago. The national average is 84 cents less and the Oregon average is 95 cents less than a year ago.

Alaska (-$1.21) has the largest year-over-year drop. Hawaii (-47 cents) has the smallest. In all, four states have pump price averages that are $1/gallon or more cheaper than a year ago, down from eight a week ago.

West Coast

The West Coast region continues to have the most expensive pump prices in the nation. Prices in the region increased for the week as stay-at-home orders were eased.

Alaska (+13 cents) and California (+4 cents) have the largest weekly increases in the region, while Hawaii (+1 cent) has the smallest.

Hawaii is most expensive for the 25th week in a row and as mentioned above remains the only state in the nation with an average at or above $3 a gallon. California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and Alaska round out the top 6. Arizona is 12th.

After 17 weeks at fourth most expensive, Oregon falls one place to fifth.

Rank, Region, and Price on 6/2/2020
1. Hawaii $3.18
2. California $2.91
3. Washington $2.54
4. Nevada $2.47
5. Oregon $2.45
6. Alaska $2.28
7. Utah $2.25
8. Pennsylvania $2.24
9. Illinois $2.23
10. Idaho $2.22

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 31 million bbl to 29.2 million bbl last week. Decreasing stocks may help to lift pump prices this week, if demand continues to rebound in the region.

Oil market dynamics

Crude prices spiked last week amid increased market optimism that demand for crude oil and refined products from it, including gasoline, may be rebounding.

For this week, crude prices may continue to rise if the market believes that the 9.7 million b/d production reduction agreement for May and June 2020 between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major crude exporters, including Russia, is helping to rebalance the global oil market as demand remains low due to COVID-19.

At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.78 to settle at $35.49 per barrel. At the end of Monday’s formal trading session, WTI fell 5 cents to settle at $35.44 per barrel.

Today crude is trading around $36 compared to $34 a week ago. Crude prices are up about 71 percent in the last month and are about $18 less than a year ago.

Drivers can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance.

Diesel

For the week, the national average remains at $2.41 a gallon. Oregon’s average holds steady at $2.58. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.08 and the Oregon average was $3.30.

Source: AAA/Oregon

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©2020 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


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