August Pump Prices Steady for Now as Supply and Demand are fairly Balanced
PORTLAND, Ore., – Retail gas prices are fairly flat or trending slightly lower in many states, including Oregon. For the week, the national average for regular remains at $2.86 while Oregon’s average slips two cents to $3.26.
Supply and demand for gasoline is fairly balanced for now. The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows a drop in consumer gasoline demand and a build in gas inventories. This is the first increase in six weeks with a substantial addition of 3 million bbl.
“We’ll likely see increases in demand again as we get closer to Labor Day and folks squeeze in those last summer road trips, and that could again put upward pressure on prices,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Oregon is one of 40 states and the District of Columbia where prices are lower now than a week ago. The largest decreases are in Delaware, D.C., Missouri and South Carolina where averages all fell three cents. The largest weekly increases are in Michigan (+7 cents) and Idaho (+5 cents). This week 12 states have averages at or above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago.
Oregon is one of 42 states and the District of Columbia where prices are lower than one month ago. The national average is two cents less and the Oregon average is five cents less than a month ago. Oregon has the ninth-largest monthly decrease in the country. Ohio (-12 cents) has the largest monthly decrease, while Idaho (+7 cents) has the largest monthly increase.
The West Coast continues to have the most expensive gas prices in the nation. Hawaii tops the list for the 10th week in a row with California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fifth for the eighth consecutive week. Prices in Hawaii, Idaho and Nevada are up slightly for the week while prices have dipped in the other West Coast states. Oregon has the largest decline of half a cent.
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According to EIA’s petroleum status report for the week ending on August 3, inventories of gasoline in the West Coast region grew by 200,000 bbl. They now sit at 30.4 million bbl, which is nearly four million bbl higher than total levels at this time last year. Growing supplies will provide a cushion for price fluctuations, which could help pump prices stabilize if there are any shocks to regional supply this week.
The nation’s cheapest markets are Alabama ($2.56) and South Carolina ($2.56). For the 54th week in a row, no states have an average below $2.
Drivers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are paying more than a year ago to fill up. The national average is 50 cents more and the Oregon average is 56 cents more than a year ago. This is the eighth-largest yearly increase in the country. Hawaii (+69 cents) has the greatest year-over-year increase; Arizona (+65 cents) is second; California (+63 cents) is third; Connecticut (+59 cents) is fourth; and Utah (+59 cents) is fifth.
Oil Market Dynamics
Crude oil prices took a slight step back last week after EIA’s report showed a smaller-than-expected drawdown of crude inventories. Falling approximately 1.35 million bbl, total crude inventories now sit at 407.4 million bbl, which is roughly 68 million bbl lower than where they were this time last year. Lower crude stocks, amid high global crude demand, have helped to increase global crude prices this year over last. However, if total domestic crude inventories continue to disappoint the market this week, oil prices may slide further.
According to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. added 10 oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 869. Currently, there are 101 more active rigs this year than last year at this time.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 82 cents to settle at $67.63. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI lost 43 cents to settle at $67.20. Today crude is trading around $67 compared to $69 a week ago. Crude prices are down about one percent in the last month and are about $18 more per barrel 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. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
For the week, the national average holds steady at $3.15 a gallon. Oregon’s average slips half a cent to $3.39. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.53 and the Oregon average was $2.70.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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