Tightening Gasoline Supplies Send Prices Higher in Oregon and Many Other States
PORTLAND, Ore., – U.S. refinery utilization is at 83 percent—the lowest rate since September 2017—tightening gasoline supplies and causing state gas price averages to rise in nearly half of all states, including Oregon. For the week, the national average holds steady at $2.64 a gallon. The Oregon average jumps seven cents to $3.35. This is the largest weekly jump in the nation for the second week in a row and the highest price for the Oregon average since mid-June of this year.
“Peak refinery maintenance season in addition to some unplanned outages are causing price volatility across the country,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Drivers can expect a roller coaster ride at the pumps for the next couple weeks, especially here on the West coast, due to ongoing maintenance and tighter gasoline supplies.”
Oregon is one of 21 states where prices are higher now than a week ago. As mentioned above, the biggest weekly jump in the nation is in Oregon (+7 cents). Alaska (+6 cents) has the second-largest jump, and Idaho (+6 cents) is third. Illinois (-8 cents) has the largest week-over-week drop. Prices are flat in Mississippi, South Dakota and Maine.
This week there are six states with an average above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago. California ($4.13) remains the only state in the nation with an average above $4 and has been above the $4 mark for four consecutive weeks.
Oregon is one of only eight states with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is three cents less and the Oregon average is 28 cents more than a month ago. This is the third-largest monthly increase in the nation. California (+39 cents) has the largest month-over-month increase and Nevada (+28 cents) is second. Ohio (-18 cents) has the largest month-over-month decline.
Oregon is one of 48 states and the District of Columbia where drivers are paying less than a year ago. The national average is 21 cents less and the Oregon average is four cents less than a year ago. South Dakota (-37 cents) has the largest year-over-year drop. California (+32 cents) and Nevada (+14 cents) are the only states with year-over-year increases.
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. A number of refineries in the region underwent planned and unplanned maintenance, reducing supplies.
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California is most expensive for the fifth week in a row, with Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the 14th week in a row.
As mentioned above, Oregon (+7 cents) and Alaska (+6 cents) have the largest weekly jumps in the nation. California (-4 cents) has the largest weekly drop in the region.
In addition to several refineries undergoing maintenance, operations at Marathon Petroleum’s San Francisco Bay Area refinery halted last week as a result of the earthquake that occurred last Monday. Production has resumed at the refinery, which produces 170,000 b/d.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report for the week ending Oct. 11 showed that total West Coast gasoline stocks took a slight draw from 26.25 million bbl to 26.23 million bbl. The current level is approximately 1.42 million bbl lower than this same time last year. Tighter supplies will continue to keep prices high this week, but as refineries resume normal gasoline production levels and imports enter the region, pump prices are expected to stabilize.
The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Louisiana ($2.26) and Mississippi $2.27). For the 36th week in a row, no states have an average below $2 a gallon.
Oil market dynamics
Crude prices mostly fell last week and that trend continued to start this week after EIA’s report revealed that total domestic crude inventories grew significantly – by 9.3 million bbl – to total 434 million bbl. Increased domestic production, which hit 12.6 million b/d last week, has helped to push crude stocks up. When compared to last year’s rate at this time, crude production is up by 1.7 million b/d this year. Additionally, trade tensions between China and the U.S. continue to worry the market, putting downward pressure on prices. If trade tensions continue, prices could take another step back this week.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased 15 cents to settle at $53.78. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell 47 cents to close at $53.31. Today crude is trading around $54, compared to $53 a week ago. Crude prices are down about seven percent in the last month and are about $16 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 holds steady at $3.00 a gallon. Oregon’s average soars a dime to $3.31. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.29 and the Oregon average was $3.47.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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