“Retail gas prices are moving down in most markets, however the Oregon average is once again the third most expensive in the country after spending the last two weeks in fourth place. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded falls a nickel to $3.38 a gallon while Oregon’s average loses four cents to $3.82 per gallon.” AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, “Persisting regional refinery issues and the resulting tight supplies have kept prices in the Pacific States elevated for the last several weeks. The top five most expensive states for gas are all in this region: Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and California. AAA says relief is on the way, and expects gas prices to fall another 10 to 20 cents by the end of October.”
The national average is at its lowest price for this date since 2010 when gas averaged $2.73. The five-cent drop in the national average in the last week is the steepest one-week drop since July. The Oregon average is at its lowest price since April of this year. Both the Oregon and national averages are below their year-to-date highs. The national average peaked at $3.70 a gallon on April 28. Oregon’s average reached its 2014 high of $3.99 on July 3.
Pump prices typically fall during this time of year due to decreased demand and the transition to winter-blend gasoline. Starting on September 15, retailers can begin selling a blend of gasoline that is less expensive to produce because does not have to meet the same federal emissions reduction requirements that are required during warmer summer months.
Although the majority of drivers are paying less at the pump, the magnitude of the savings varies by geographic location. Over the past seven days the average price in 49 states and Washington D.C. has declined. The only state where prices are up on the week is Montana and the increase is fractions of a penny.
Drivers in Washington D.C. and 49 states, including Oregon, are experiencing month-over-month discounts at the pump. The retail price per gallon is down by a nickel or more in 36 states, including Oregon, and Washington DC, with the largest savings seen in New Mexico and Missouri where prices are down 16 cents.
Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado are the only states where gas prices are more expensive than a year ago. Drivers in the rest of the states and Washington D.C. are enjoying a year-over-year discount with drivers in five states saving at least a quarter a gallon.
Late last week, the U.S. issued another round of sanctions targeting Russia’s energy, defense and financial sectors in response to Russia’s continued activity in Ukraine, and are designed to impact that nation’s deepwater, Arctic and shale oil production plans. Similar action was taken by the European Union, and in combination could impact US oil companies that produce oil with Russia. Market watchers will continue to monitor this situation and its impact on global markets.
Despite the geopolitical tensions and continued unrest in northern Iraq, global oil prices have not skyrocketed. Brent crude (the traditional European benchmark) Monday traded at its lowest mark ($96.65 per barrel) since 2012, and while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil eked out gains on the day, it remains near its cheapest price of the year. At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled up 65 cents at $92.92 per barrel. This price is less than a dollar above last Wednesday’s settlement ($91.67) which was a penny higher than the January 9 low for 2014. The last time WTI settled below $90 per barrel was April 2013. Today WTI is trading around $94 a barrel, compared to $93 a week ago. Crude prices are down about two percent over the last month.
This week there is only one state, Hawaii, with regular unleaded at or above $4 a gallon, as Alaska’s average drops below the $4 mark this week. For the 34th week in a row, there are no states with an average below $3 per gallon, and no states within a dime of this mark for the 30th week in a row. However, Mississippi is just 12 cents away from $3.
Hawaii has the most expensive gas in the country for the 99th consecutive week at $4.25, followed by Alaska at $3.98, Oregon at $3.82 (down four cents and up to third after two weeks at fourth), Washington at $3.82 (down four cents and down from third last week), and California at $3.77 (down a nickel and fifth for the fifth consecutive week). Idaho is sixth for the fourth week in a row at $3.72 (down two cents). After 12 weeks, Mississippi bumps South Carolina as the state with the cheapest gas in the country at $3.12 a gallon (down a nickel).
Diesel prices are edging lower in many markets. The national average loses two cents to $3.78 a gallon. Oregon’s average also slips two cents to $4.01. Diesel is at or above $4 a gallon in seven states, same as last week. Hawaii is most expensive at $4.89, followed by New York at $4.11, Washington at $4.11 (same price as last week), Connecticut at $4.11, and Alaska at $4.09. California is sixth at $4.06 (down three cents). Oregon is seventh for the third week in a row. Idaho is eighth for the second consecutive week at $3.96 (up two cents). A year ago, the national average for diesel was $3.94 and Oregon’s was $3.95.
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