PORTLAND, Ore., – Volatility is the trend for July pump prices as crude oil prices rise and fall amid various geopolitical concerns. Retail gas prices rose in the first half of the month, then trended lower for the second half. Prices continue to tick lower as the month of July winds down. For the week, the national average loses three cents to $2.84 a gallon. The Oregon average slips two cents to $3.29.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride for crude oil and gas prices during July. For now, pump prices appear to be stabilizing and even edging lower in many markets. If supply and demand remain consistent, prices may stay fairly flat for the coming weeks,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Crude oil prices are also showing quite a bit of upward and downward movement. Last week, crude prices dropped below $70 per barrel for the first time since June.
Oregon is one of 49 states and the District of Columbia where prices are lower now than a week ago. The largest decreases are in Ohio (-12 cents) and Michigan (-11 cents). Hawaii (+1/2 cent) is the only state reporting a weekly increase, while the average in South Dakota is flat. This week 12 states have averages at or above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago.
Oregon is one of 31 states where prices are lower than one month ago. The national average is one cent less and the Oregon average is also one cent less than a month ago. Oregon has the 39th-largest monthly decrease in the country. New Mexico (-13 cents) has the largest monthly decrease, while Indiana (+8 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 seventh week in a row with California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Nevada rounding out the top six. Oregon is fifth for the fifth consecutive week. Prices in all of the states in the top 10 are down this week, except Hawaii where the average is up half a cent.
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According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) petroleum status report for the week ending on July 13, inventories of gasoline in the region dropped by 500,000 bbl. They now sit at 30.3 million bbl, which is nearly 3.5 million bbl higher than total levels at this time last year. The surplus will likely help guard against price spikes in the event that supply tightens in the region this week.
The nation’s cheapest markets are South Carolina ($2.54) and Alabama ($2.54). For the 51st 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 56 cents more and the Oregon average is 63 cents more than a year ago. This is the seventh-largest yearly increase in the country. Hawaii (+75 cents) has the greatest year-over-year increase; California (+72 cents) is second; Arizona (+72 cents) is third and Wyoming (+70 cents) is fourth.
Oil Market Dynamics
Crude oil prices continue their wild ride this summer. West Texas Intermediate climbed above $74 per barrel in late June for the first time since late 2014, then fell back below $70 last week.
Oil prices trended higher at the end of last week following news from EIA on record-breaking crude production in the U.S. At 11 million b/d, total crude production in the U.S. hit its highest rate ever recorded since the EIA began reporting its data. Moving into this week, analyst are continuing to keep an eye on the global supply restraints due to U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and ongoing economic troubles in Venezuela, which could send crude prices higher.
The U.S. dropped five oil rigs last week leaving today’s total at 858. In spite of this, with nearly 94 more active oil rigs over last year’s count, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., increased oil production shows few signs of slowing down through the second half of 2018. Growth in domestic oil production helped total crude inventories around the country increase by 5.8 million bbl last week, bringing the total to 411.1 million bbl.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased $.23 to settle at $68.26. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI lost $.37 to settle at $67.89. Today crude is trading around $69, compared to $67 a week ago. Crude prices are up about one percent in the last month and are about $22 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 ticks down a penny to $3.15 a gallon. Oregon’s average also slips a penny to $3.41. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.45 and the Oregon average was $2.65.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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