PORTLAND, Ore., – Gas prices are flat or creeping lower ahead of Memorial Day weekend, despite a drop in gasoline stocks. For the week, the national average slips a cent to $2.85 a gallon while the Oregon average remains at $3.44 a gallon.
“Gas prices are fairly steady despite the fact that U.S. gasoline stocks sit at a 7 million bbl deficit year-over-year. Crude oil prices have remained relatively stable the past few months which is one reason gas prices aren’t still rapidly climbing,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
AAA projects the second-busiest Memorial Day ever for travelers, second only to 2005 with 43 million Americans (13 percent of the population) traveling over the holiday weekend, up 3.6 percent compared to last year. In the Pacific Region, Region (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA), 7.2 million people (13.3 percent of the population) are expected to travel, a 4.3 percent increase compared to 2018. In Oregon, roughly 557,000 will travel over the long weekend. Despite relatively expensive gas prices, AAA expects the highest number of road trippers on record as the vast majority will drive to their destinations. The busiest travel days will be Thursday and Friday, and travel delays on major roads could be two to three times busier than normal as commuters mix with holiday travelers. Find the complete AAA Memorial Day travel news release here.
Oregon is one of 19 states and the District of Columbia where prices are flat this week, either increasing or decreasing by less than a cent. Twenty-five states have decreases of a penny or more. Six states have increases of a penny or more. Ohio (+7 cents) has the largest week-over-week increase while Florida (- 6 cents) has the largest weekly drop. California remains the only state with an average at or above $4 a gallon. Oregon is one of nine states with an average between $3 and $3.99, compared to 10 a week ago.
Oregon is one of 28 states and the District of Columbia with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is the same as a month ago while the Oregon average is eight cents more than a month ago. This is the 13th-largest monthly increase in the country. Utah (+38 cents) has the largest month-over-month jump, Idaho (+28 cents) is second and Alaska (+20 cents) is third. Florida (-11 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.
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California tops the list for the ninth consecutive week with Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, Alaska Oregon rounding out the top six. Oregon is sixth for the second week in a row. As mentioned above, California is the only state with an average at or above $4 a gallon. Prices in the region are showing moderate increases or decreases this week. California (-3 cents) has the biggest drop while Alaska (+1 cent) has the largest weekly increase.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) weekly report for the week ending on May 10 showed that West Coast gasoline stocks fell again by approximately 700,000 bbl from the previous week and now sit at 26.4 million bbl. The current level is 3.3 million bbl less than last year’s level at this time. The West Coast may see continued price volatility and shrinking gasoline stocks this week, sending pump prices higher.
Oregon is one of eight states where drivers are paying more than a year ago to fill up. The national average is eight cents less and the Oregon average is 12 cents more than a year ago, which is the fifth-largest yearly increase in the country. California (+33 cents), Nevada (+17 cents), Arizona (+14 cents), and Washington (+12 cents) have the greatest year-over-year increases. Delaware (-22 cents) and Florida (-21 cents) have the largest year-over-year decreases.
Oil Market Dynamics
Crude prices increased last week due to rising global tensions that saw attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and on a Saudi Arabian oil pipeline. Those attacks only increased supply concerns that have been building due to the U.S. taking a tough line on sanctions against Iran, and unrest in Venezuela and Libya leading to disruptions of supplies from those countries.
Crude prices will likely continue their ascent this week after OPEC and its partners met over the weekend to discuss compliance with the group’s 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement that has been in place since January 2019. OPEC will formally decide if it will keep the agreement in place beyond June at next month’s meeting, but after this weekend’s compliance meeting, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said that there was consensus among participants to continue to drive down crude inventories for the remainder of the year.
In related news, EIA’s weekly petroleum report revealed that total domestic crude inventories increased by 5.4 million bbl to 472 million bbl. The current level is 39.7 million bbl more than last year at this time. Moreover, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. lost three rigs last week, bringing the total to 802, which is 42 fewer rigs than last year at this time.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped 11 cents to settle at $62.76. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI added 34 cents to close at $63.10. Today crude is trading around $63, compared to $62 a week ago. Crude prices are down about four percent in the last month and are about $8 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 is flat at $3.10 a gallon. Oregon’s average holds steady at $3.30. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.19 and the Oregon average was $3.39.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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