PORTLAND, Ore., – Pump prices continue to inch down despite strong demand. The vast majority of Memorial Day travelers found gas prices a little lower than they were in early May. For the week, the national average loses two cents to $2.83 a gallon while the Oregon average dips a penny to $3.42 a gallon.
“Gas prices are edging lower and that’s a trend drivers can expect to continue into early June. Stable crude oil prices are helping to put downward pressure on pump prices, despite tight domestic supplies and robust demand. Another bump in demand could push prices higher but only by a few cents,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Oregon is one of 43 states and the District of Columbia where prices are lower this week. Ohio (-7 cents) has the largest weekly decrease, while Wyoming (+3 cents) has the largest week-over-week increase. This week there are nine states with an average above $3 a gallon down from 10 a week ago.
Oregon is one of 12 states with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is six cents less and the Oregon average is two cents more than a month ago. This is the ninth-largest monthly increase in the country. Utah (+23 cents) has the largest month-over-month jump, Idaho (+18 cents) is second and Alaska (+12 cents) is third. North Carolina (-14 cents) has the largest monthly decrease.
The West Coast continues to have the highest pump prices in the nation with all of the region’s states landing on the top 10 most expensive list. California tops the list for the 10th consecutive week with Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, and Oregon rounding out the top six. Oregon is sixth for the third week in a row. This week California drops just below $4 a gallon. Prices in the region have seen mostly modest decreases on the week, with Alaska (+2 cents) seeing the largest jump and California (-4 cents) seeing the largest decline.
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The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent weekly report for the week ending on May 17 shows that West Coast gasoline stocks grew significantly by 1.3 million bbl from the previous week and now sit at 27.7 million bbl. The current level is 2.5 million bbl less than last year’s level at this time. The West Coast may see continued price volatility, as a result of tight stocks in the region.
Oregon is one of only eight states where drivers are paying more than a year ago to fill up. The national average is 14 cents less and the Oregon average is seven cents more than a year ago, which is the sixth-largest yearly increase in the country. California (+26 cents), Nevada (+15 cents), and Arizona (+9 cents) have the greatest year-over-year increases. Florida (-31 cents) and Delaware (-28 cents) have the largest year-over-year decreases.
Oil Market Dynamics
Crude prices moved lower last week following release of EIA’s weekly petroleum status report that showed total domestic crude inventories rose by 4.8 million bbl. At 476.8 million bbl, the current level is the highest since July 2017. Ample crude supplies and increased domestic production, which hit a record high of 12.2 million b/d last week, has increased market expectations that supply tightening due to OPEC’s production reduction agreement and reduced crude exports from Iran and Venezuela may be overcome by increased export prowess as a result of the nation’s growing domestic crude supply. Market observers will await OPEC’s meeting on June 25 and 26 in Vienna, where the cartel will likely decide to extend the agreement it has in place with its partners for the remainder of 2019, to determine how much global crude supplies may tighten further.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased by 72 cents to settle at $58.63. Markets were closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Today crude is trading around $59, compared to $63 a week ago. Crude prices are down about seven percent in the last month and are about $12 per barrel 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. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
For the week, the national average slips half a cent to $3.09 a gallon. Oregon’s average adds half a cent to $3.31. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.21 and the Oregon average was $3.42.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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