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Jan-11-2022 14:36printcomments

Oregon Gas Prices Climb due to Rising Crude Prices

Oregon has fifth-largest weekly jump in the country

AAA gas prices
National gas price comparison 2019-2022
Image: AAA/Oregon

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Gas prices are moving higher, driven primarily by a jump in crude oil prices. Some refinery and distribution issues in the Pacific Northwest are causing prices here to rise faster than the national average.

For the week, the national average for regular climbs a penny to $3.30 a gallon. The Oregon average jumps seven cents to $3.90. This is the fifth-largest weekly jump of a state average in the nation.

The Oregon average is now at its highest price since August 2014. The national average is at its highest price since December 2021.

Crude oil has surged to $80 a barrel. Events on the far side of the globe are fueling the recent rise.

Social unrest and violence in Kazakhstan, a member of the OPEC+ alliance, have forced that nation to cut production. Before the recent flare-up of violence, Kazakhstan pumped nearly 2 million barrels of crude a day.

In contrast, the United States, as the top oil-producing country in the world, pumped an average of 18.6 million barrels a day.

“Since the global price for oil accounts for nearly half of what consumers pay at the pump, higher oil costs will usually result in higher gasoline costs,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

“Markets, in general, don’t like uncertainty and volatility, and the oil market is no exception. The oil production cuts by Kazakhstan demonstrate that in times of tight supply, it doesn’t take much to put upward pressure on the overall price of oil.”

Here in the Pacific Northwest, some refinery and distribution snags have led to some supply disruptions.

At least two refineries including HollyFrontier Puget Sound and Phillips 66 Ferndale have reportedly had some issues, impacting Washington and Oregon. Weather has also played a role.

Mountain snow has made traveling over the passes challenging, and flooding has impacted roads in Washington.

“The West Coast region tends to produce about as much gasoline as is consumed. So when refinery and distribution issues put a crimp in supplies, prices can climb in a hurry,” adds Dodds.

Crude oil ended 2021 at $75 per barrel, then rose above $79 on Jan. 6. Crude oil prices tumbled in late November from $84 per barrel to below $70 per barrel, due to fears of a global shutdown and decreased demand for oil caused by news of the Omicron variant.

U.S. gasoline demand decreased from 9.72 million b/d to 8.17 million b/d. Total domestic gasoline stocks rose by 10.1 million bbl to 232.8 million bbl last week, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Typically, pump prices decline due to lower gas demand and a rise in total stocks, but continued growth in the price of crude oil has helped to elevate pump prices. As oil prices continue to climb near $80 a barrel, pump prices will likely follow suit.

With the surge of the Omicron variant, travel continues to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Visit AAA.com/covidmap for an interactive map with the latest travel restrictions and policies for North America. Find AAA’s latest COVID-19 information for travelers here.

Quick stats

Oregon is one of 23 states and the District of Columbia with higher prices now than a week ago. Indiana (+15 cents) has the largest weekly increase in the nation. Oregon (+7 cents) has the fifth-largest weekly increase. Utah (-4 cents) has the largest week-over-week decline.

California ($4.65) and Hawaii ($4.34) continue to have the most expensive gas prices in the country and are the only states in the nation with averages above $4 a gallon, while 42 states and the District of Columbia have averages above $3 a gallon.

The cheapest gas in the nation is in Texas ($2.90) and Oklahoma ($2.92). They are among eight states that have averages below $3 a gallon. For the 53rd week in a row, no state has an average below $2 a gallon.

Oregon is one of only seven states and the District of Columbia with higher prices now than a month ago. The national average is three cents less and the Oregon average is 11 cents more than a month ago. This is the largest monthly increase in the nation. Arizona (-16 cents) has the largest month-over-month decrease.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have higher prices now than a year ago, and 21 states have a current average that’s a dollar or more higher than a year ago.

The national average is 98 cents more and the Oregon average is $1.26 more than a year ago. This is the fourth-largest yearly increase in the nation. California (+$1.36) has the biggest yearly increase. Kentucky (+76 cents) has the smallest year-over-year increase.

West Coast

The West Coast region continues to have the most expensive pump prices in the nation with all seven states in the region in the top 10.

California is the most expensive state for the 51st week in a row with Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon moves up a spot to fourth after 13 weeks at fifth.

Oregon (+7 cents), Washington (+5 cents), Alaska (+4 cents) and Hawaii (+1 cent) are seeing week-over-week increases. Oregon (+7 cents) has the largest weekly gain in the region. Arizona (-2 cents), Nevada (-2 cents) and California (-1/2 cent) have week-over-week declines.

The refinery utilization rate on the West Coast decreased from 83.8% to 82.2% for the week ending December 31. The rate has ranged between 82% and 88% in the last year.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region rose from 27.39 million bbl to 28.87 million bbl.

Diesel

For the week, the national average adds a penny to $3.59 a gallon. Oregon’s average shoots up 11 cents to $3.98. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.59 and the Oregon average was $2.73.

Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

Source: AAA/Oregon

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