Refinery Issues Push West Coast Pump Prices Higher

Gas Prices Trending Cheaper Nationally

PORTLAND, Ore., – Gas prices are ticking down in most states, except for the West Coast region where tightening supplies due to refinery outages are sending prices higher. For the week, the national average for regular slips half a cent to $2.66 a gallon. The Oregon average jumps a nickel to $3.12.

Two weeks after attacks on major Saudi Arabian oil facilities, the majority of Americans are starting to see signs of gas prices trending cheaper. Crude oil prices have dropped close to where they were right before the drone attacks on the Saudi oil facilities.

“While drivers in other states are getting some relief at the pumps, West Coast drivers are paying more. Disruptions at about five refineries in California are causing pump prices to spike, and it’s not clear when operations will return to normal,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

California is hardest hit, with a week-over-week jump of 32 cents, sending the state’s average to $4.07 a gallon. This is the first week that California has climbed above the $4 a gallon mark since July 27, 2014.

Oregon is one of only seven states where prices are higher now than a week ago. As mentioned above, the biggest weekly jump is in California (+32 cents). Nevada (+15 cents) has the second-largest jump in the country, and Oregon (+5 cents) is third. Michigan (-12 cents) has the largest week-over-week drop. This week there are five states with an average above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago.

Oregon is one of 34 states and the District of Columbia with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is eight cents more and the Oregon average is seven cents more than a month ago. This is the 19th-largest monthly increase in the nation. California (+45 cents) has the largest month-over-month increase. Connecticut (-6 cents) has the largest month-over-month decline.

Oregon is one of 47 states and the District of Columbia where drivers are paying less than a year ago. The national average is 23 cents less and the Oregon average is 15 cents less than a year ago. Iowa (-40 cents) has the largest year-over-year drop. California (+33 cents), Nevada (+7 cents) and Arizona (+3 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. Refinery outages in the region are causing prices to spike.

Rank Region Price on 10/1/19
1 California $4.07
2 Hawaii $3.68
3 Nevada $3.31
4 Washington $3.25
5 Oregon $3.12
6 Alaska $2.98
7 Arizona $2.92
8 Utah $2.80
9 Pennsylvania $2.78
10 Illinois $2.76

California is most expensive for the second week in a row, with Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the 11th week in a row.

As mentioned above, California (+32 cents), Nevada (+15 cents) and Oregon (+5 cents) have the largest weekly jumps in the nation.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) report for the week ending on September 20, showed that total West Coast gasoline stocks decreased significantly by 1.5 million bbl to 27.1 million bbl. This level is approximately 800,000 bbl lower than this same time last year. Tight supplies will continue to cause prices to increase, but imports and increased deliveries from nearby states are expected to help to ease soaring prices.

The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Louisiana ($2.30) and Mississippi ($2.31). For the 33rd week in a row, no states have an average below $2 a gallon.

 

Oil market dynamics

Oil prices were mostly mixed last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude inventories grew by 2.4 million bbl, bringing the total 419.5 million bbl. The current level is 23.5 million bbl higher than where it was at this time last year. The higher level has kept prices in check as concerns that global crude demand may be impacted by the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

Additionally, crude prices have also been shaken as a result of market concerns that global supply could be reduced due to escalating tension in the Middle East. Crude prices increased moderately last week after the U.S. Department of Defense said it would deploy radar systems, Patriot missiles and about two hundred personnel to bolster Saudi Arabia’s defenses after an attack on two of its oil facilities earlier this month. If EIA’s report shows another crude inventory build, crude prices could end the week down. However, any escalation in tensions in the Middle East could see them spike.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased by 50 cents to settle at $55.91. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell $1.84 cents to close at $54.07. Today crude is trading around $53, compared to $58 a week ago. Crude prices are down about one percent in the last month and are about $19 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 remains at $3.01 a gallon. Oregon’s average adds half a cent to $3.16. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.22 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/

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 820,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 60 million motorists in North America.