Pump Prices Skyrocket, especially on West Coast

Oregon has nation’s fourth-largest weekly jump and third-highest monthly increase

PORTLAND, Ore., – Retail gas prices are shooting up with drivers in the West Coast, Rockies, Great Lakes and Central regions seeing the biggest jumps. For the week, the national average climbs a nickel to $2.75 a gallon. The Oregon average jumps 12 cents to $3.18. This is the fourth-largest weekly jump in the nation and the highest price for the Oregon average since last November .

Tight supplies due to refinery issues and higher crude oil prices are to blame. Overall refinery utilization is 86 percent compared with 93 percent a year ago because of planned and unplanned refinery maintenance. Crude oil prices are around $64 per barrel, the highest price in more than five months.

“Drivers on the West Coast are feeling the pain. In many cases, pump prices in this region are at least a dollar a gallon more expensive than in other parts of the country,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “California is especially hard hit with an average of $3.83 and $4 gas in many markets. We should see some relief by June but it’ll be a bumpy ride until then.”

Prices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are higher now than a week ago. Oregon has the fourth-largest weekly jump in the country. California (+21 cents) and Arizona (+15 cents) have the largest week-over-week increases while Georgia (+1 cent) has the smallest. This week six states, California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona have averages at or above $3 a gallon, up from four states a week ago.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is 28 cents more and the Oregon average is 38 cents more than a month ago. This is the third-largest monthly increase in the country. California (+52 cents) and Arizona (+43 cents) have the largest monthly jumps. Massachusetts (+15 cents) has the smallest month-over-month increase.

Pump prices in the West Coast region are the highest in the nation, with all of the region’s states landing on the top 10 most expensive list. California tops the list for the third consecutive week with Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fourth most expensive for the fourth week in a row. As mentioned above, California (+21 cents) and Arizona (+15 cents) have the largest increases in the region and country.

Rank Region Price on 4/9/19
1 California $3.83
2 Hawaii $3.53
3 Washington $3.29
4 Oregon $3.18
5 Nevada $3.10
6 Alaska $3.07
7 Arizona $2.90
8 Pennsylvania $2.90
9 Illinois $2.87
10 District of Columbia $2.87

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent weekly report, for the week ending on March 29, showed that West Coast gasoline stocks fell slightly by 70,000 bbl from the previous week and now sit at 30.96 million bbl. Ongoing planned and unplanned refinery maintenance throughout the region, including at Valero’s 149,000-b/d refinery in Benicia, CA, have reduced stock levels in the region amid reports of HollyFrontier’s 100,000-b/d Navajo Refinery in New Mexico contributing to gasoline shortages in Arizona. Stocks are approximately 1.5 million bbl lower than this time last year and could fall further this week depending on refinery maintenance turnaround. This will keep prices elevated in this region, with the potential for more escalation should additional supply challenges arise.

The nation’s cheapest markets are Mississippi ($2.45) and Alabama ($2.45). For the eighth week in a row, no states have an average below $2 a gallon.

Oregon is one of 39 states and the District of Columbia where drivers are paying more than a year ago to fill up. The national average is nine cents more and the Oregon average is seven cents more than a year ago, which is the 19th-largest yearly increase in the country. California (+31 cents) and Arizona (+22 cents) have the greatest year-over-year increases. Utah (-36 cents) and Idaho (- 24 cents) have the largest year-over-year decreases.

 

Oil Market Dynamics

Crude oil prices have been climbing for three weeks and are at their highest levels since late October. Oil prices climbed last week following strong U.S. economic data that reduced fears of a drop in global crude demand later this year. Moreover, escalating military actions in Libya – a major global crude producer and exporter – supported crude price increases amid concerns that crude exports from the country could be affected by the tension. Oil prices could climb even further this week as OPEC’s 1.2 million b/d production reduction agreement remains in place through June and the U.S. tightens its crude export sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

In related news, EIA data revealed that total domestic crude inventories grew by 7.2 million bbl to 449.5 million bbl. Additionally, Baker Hughes Inc. reported that the U.S. gained 15 oilrigs last week, bringing the total to 831. When compared to last year at this time, there are 23 more rigs this year.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 98 cents to settle at $63.08. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI gained $1.32 to close at $64.40. Today crude is trading around $64, compared to $62 a week ago. Crude prices are up about 13 percent in the last month and are about $2 per barrel more 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 adds a penny to $3.04 a gallon. Oregon’s average gains two cents to $3.16. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.97 and the Oregon average was $3.19.

 

Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.

 

Fuel prices are updated daily at AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge at AAA Gas Prices. For more info go www.AAA.com. AAA Oregon/Idaho provides more than 800,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 59 million motorists in North America.