Pump Prices Rise as Gasoline Demand Surges to Weekly Record

PORTLAND, Ore., – “Record demand for gasoline is pushing retail prices higher. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded rises three cents to $2.35 a gallon, while Oregon’s average climbs two cents to $2.69,” says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. “The U.S. Energy Information Administration report shows gasoline demand reached a new weekly record of 9.842 million b/d. The 2017 demand average over the past four-weeks is about one percent ahead of the same four-week period last year. With summer demand in high gear, drivers can expect pump prices to keep rising through August.”

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Oregon is one of 46 states and the District of Columbia where gas prices increased in the last week. The largest weekly increase is in Missouri (+8 cents). Michigan (-2 cents), Ohio (-2 cents), Indiana (-1 cent) and Florida (- 1 cent) are the only states to see pump prices fall week-over-week.

Oregon is one of 47 states and the District of Columbia to see pump prices rise in the last month. The largest monthly increase is in South Carolina (+15 cents). Utah (-4 cents), Arizona (-3 cents) and Nevada (-2 cents) are the only states where prices decreased month-over-month. The national average is nine cents more and the Oregon average is two cents more than a month ago.

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The West Coast continues to have the highest gas prices in the country. Hawaii remains the only state with an average at or above $3. California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Nevada round out the top six most expensive states. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the sixth week in a row.

The latest weekly EIA report shows West Coast gasoline inventories dropped 400,000 bbl to 26.7 million bbl, which is below the 28 million bbl mark that most market watchers consider a comfort zone.

Oregon is gearing up for a spike in tourists for the total solar eclipse on August 21. This will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. since 1979, and a million people are expected in the path of totality in Oregon. AAA Oregon/Idaho is gearing up for thousands of service calls; find the eclipse news release here.

California’s boutique reformulated gasoline (RFG) inventories increased 2.6 percent to 4.914 million bbl last week, according to the California Energy Commission (CEC). However, supply levels are still seven percent lower than this same period last year when the state was experiencing high imports and impressive refinery production.

The nation’s cheapest markets are South Carolina ($2.09) and Mississippi ($2.10). For the second week in a row, there are no states with an average below $2.

Drivers are paying more to fill up compared to one year ago. The national average is currently 23 cents per gallon more and the Oregon average is 24 cents more than a year ago.

Oil Market Dynamics

After briefly pushing above the $50 benchmark last week and then dropping down, the price per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) once again is hovering near that price. With market observers watching crude storage levels to see if they decline, this week’s EIA report was welcomed news since it showed that they had reached their lowest point this year at 481.9 million bbl. However, last week’s excitement was tempered by total crude storage remaining at approximately 70 million bbl ahead of the five-year average.

EIA’s report also showed an increase in domestic crude oil output to 9.43 million b/d last week, making it clear that the glut of crude will not disappear easily. On the other side, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. lost one oil rig last week, bringing down the total number of active rigs to 765. The modest decline may be an indicator of investment in offshore drilling leveling out for the year.

As OPEC and non-OPEC countries met in in Abu Dhabi yesterday and today to discuss compliance with the production reduction agreement in place through the end of March 2018, more time or dramatic actions from major producers may be needed to hasten efforts to rebalance the global oil market. In the meantime, gains in the market are likely to be moderate as drivers see prices continue to increase at the pump.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 55 cents to settle at $49.58. At the close of Monday’s session, WTI fell 19 cents to close at $49.39. Today crude is trading around $49, same as a week ago. Crude prices are up about 11 percent in the last month and are about $8 per barrel higher 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.

2014-2017 Avg Gas Prices 8-7-2017

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

Diesel prices are also moving up. For the week, the national average adds four cents to $2.52 a gallon. Oregon’s average gains two cents to $2.68. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.30 and the Oregon average was $2.52.

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