Gas Prices Slip Ahead of Labor Day Holiday

Oregon drivers to pay lowest prices for the holiday in two years

PORTLAND, Ore., – Pump prices continue to edge lower and drivers taking that last summer road trip for Labor Day will enjoy cheaper gas prices than last year’s Labor Day holiday. For the week, the national average for regular falls two cents to $2.59 a gallon. The Oregon average loses three cents to $3.05.

 

“The national average is poised to be the cheapest for Labor Day in three years, while the Oregon average will be the cheapest in two years,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Gas prices in the majority of states are 20 to 40 cents lower than a year ago.”

While some areas may see gas prices increase by a few pennies ahead of Labor Day, which can be expected before a holiday weekend, AAA says any jumps will be short-term.

 

Labor Day Travel

Labor Day is seen as the final chance for a long weekend getaway before the summer comes to an end and generally sees the lowest travel volume of the three major summer holiday weekends.

Over the last decade, travel over the Labor Day holiday weekend has remained relatively stable, with approximately 35 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more from home each year. In the Pacific Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), about 5 million people typically travel.

This compares to 43 million Memorial Day and 49 million Independence Day travelers this year (7.2 million and 7.5 million in the Pacific Region, respectively).

With many schools already starting up again this week, families planning Labor Day trips tend to take shorter trips that are closer to home. Regional destinations such as Bend and Central Oregon, the Oregon Coast, Ashland, Crater Lake, Seattle and British Colombia are favorites.

Labor Day is also viewed as the start of the fall travel season. AAA Oregon/Idaho typically sees a surge in international destinations right after Labor Day. Airfare and accommodations tend to cost less in the fall compared to the summer months so this can be a good time to take advantage of good weather, smaller crowds and better value for your travel dollars.

 

Gas Prices Slip

Oregon is one of 46 states and the District of Columbia where prices are lower now than a week ago. Indiana (-9 cents) has the largest weekly drop. Arizona (+4 cents) has the largest weekly increase. This week there are five states with an average above $3 a gallon, down from six a week ago.

Oregon is one of 49 states and the District of Columbia with lower prices now than a month ago. The national average is 16 cents less and the Oregon average is 11 cents less than a month ago. This is the 35th-largest monthly decline in the nation. Indiana (-31 cents) has the largest month-over-month decline. Arizona (+3 cents) is the only state with a monthly increase.

Drivers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are paying less than a year ago. The national average is 25 cents less and the Oregon average is 20 cents less than a year ago. Idaho (-43 cents) has the largest year-over-year drop.

The West Coast continues to have the highest pump prices in the nation with all of the region’s states except Arizona landing on the top 10 most expensive list.

Rank Region Price on 8/27/19
1 Hawaii $3.66
2 California $3.57
3 Washington $3.21
4 Nevada $3.13
5 Oregon $3.05
6 Alaska $2.98
7 Utah $2.85
8 Idaho $2.82
9 Arizona $2.82
10 New York $2.79

Hawaii is most expensive for the third week in a row with California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska rounding out the top six. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the sixth week in a row.

State averages in the region have decreased on the week by as much as three cents, except in Arizona, which saw a four cent increase and is one of only four states in the country to see pump prices push higher week-over-week.

The report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the week ending on August 16 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks decreased slightly from 30.2 million bbl to 29.6 million bbl. Additionally, the report shows regional refinery utilization rose to 96.6% giving an indication of future production capability. If there is a supply disruption or increase in demand this week, pump prices in the region could increase moderately because of tighter stock levels.

 

Oil market dynamics

Crude prices strengthened last week after the EIA revealed that total domestic crude inventories fell by 2.7 million bbl. Then on Friday and Monday, crude oil prices took a downward turn as a result of continued trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Reuters reported that oil prices fell more than 2 percent on Friday after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs against $75 billion worth of U.S. goods. In response, President Trump tweeted that he would raise tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods from 25 to 30 percent on October 1. He also added that a tariff announced earlier this year and scheduled to go into effect on September 1 would now be raised to 15 percent.

Market watchers will keep a close eye on U.S.-China trade talks and the impact increasing tariff costs could have on global crude oil demand. If the trade tension between the countries continues, crude prices will likely decline further.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased by $1.15 to settle at $54.17. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI lost 53 cents to $53.64. Today crude is trading around $54, compared to $56 a week ago. Crude prices are down about six percent in the last month and are about $15 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.

Diesel

For the week, the national average slips a penny to $2.94 a gallon. Oregon’s average also loses a cent to $3.13. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.15 and the Oregon average was $3.38.

 

Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

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 Find local news releases at https://www.oregon.aaa.com/category/news-releases/