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Jun-23-2009 12:42printcomments

Pump Prices Jump 60 Percent Since Start of 2009

Oregon is 10th most expensive, up from 13th last week.

Gas pump
Salem has the cheapest gas in Oregon, the problem is that it is only headed up since the new year began.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Gas prices continue to climb with Oregon's average for regular unleaded gaining nine cents in the past week to $2.78, while the national average adds five cents to $2.67.

AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, "Oregon's average was $1.75 on Jan 1, 2009, and the national average was $1.62 then. Prices have jumped about 60 percent since the start of the year, which is the largest percentage increase we've seen since the '70s."

Pump prices have risen as the price of crude oil has dramatically increased. Crude started the year around $40 per barrel, spent much of the spring around $50 and has been around $70 the past couple weeks. Crude is trading around $70 today.

The recent stock market rally helped to send prices of crude oil and other commodities higher. Dodds says, "The rally has been built largely on investor optimism and market momentum, and less on supply and demand. Investors have been optimistic about the prospects for an improving global economy, and the expectation that demand for oil and fuel products will increase, especially in Asia."

One world event that may have a impact on oil prices is the aftermath of the Iranian presidential election. If unrest in that oil-producing nation grows, investors may become concerned about its potential impact on the long term oil supply.

Despite this year's historic climb, gas prices are still well below a year ago when Oregon's average was $4.27 and the national average was $4.08.

It isn't cheap, but the lowest recorded average price in Oregon for gas can be found in Salem where drivers are paying around $2.744. In Portland, motorists are paying an average of $2.748 for regular. The price in the Eugene/Springfield area is $2.775 and gas is even higher around Medford/Ashland where the average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.816. Vancouver, Washington is seeing an average of $2.816 for regular.

Two states now have averages for regular unleaded at or above $3 a gallon, and only one state, South Carolina, still has gas below $2.50 a gallon. South Carolina's average of $2.48 is the least expensive in the nation.

California has the most expensive gas in the nation for the second week in a row with regular unleaded at $3.01, followed by Hawaii at $3.00, Alaska at $2.91, Washington at $2.86 (up from 9th most expensive last week and up nine cents in the past week) and Illinois at $2.83.

Oregon is 10th most expensive, up from 13th last week.

Diesel prices are also on the rise but are less than regular unleaded. The national average jumps eight cents to $2.60, while Oregon’s average gains nine cents to $2.64. Hawaii has the highest statewide average price for diesel again this week at $3.88, followed by Alaska at $3.51, District of Columbia at $2.88, New York at $2.84, and California at $2.83. Oregon's average diesel price is 15th most expensive up from 19th last week. Washington's diesel price adds eight cents to $2.74 and is seventh highest, same as last week. A year ago, the national average for diesel was $4.80 and Oregon's average was $4.83.

Source: Oregon AAA

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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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