Gas Prices Tick Lower to start December

National, Oregon averages drop to cheapest prices in a month

PORTLAND, Ore., – Demand for gasoline is falling and that’s helping to put downward pressure on pump prices. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded declines two cents to $2.48 a gallon while the Oregon average slips one-and-a-half cents to $2.83. Averages are at their cheapest prices since early November.

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“Demand for gasoline has dropped to its lowest mark since February and that’s leading to seasonally cheaper pump prices. Most states have seen prices fall in the last week with some averages seeing double-digit declines,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

The latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) shows shrinking demand for gasoline with a drop of 871,000 b/d on the week for a total demand number of 8.7 million b/d for the week ending Nov. 24. EIA’s next report, due out tomorrow, will indicate if the drop is a trend.

Oregon is one of 47 states and the District of Columbia where gas prices are lower week-over-week. The largest decreases are in Ohio (-11 cents) and Illinois (-7 cents). Hawaii (+4 cents), Utah (+ 2 cents) and Kentucky (+1 cent) are the only three states to see prices increase on the week.

Oregon is one of 22 states and the District of Columbia where gas prices have increased in the last month. The national average is five cents less and the Oregon average is nine cents more than a month ago. The largest monthly increases are in Alaska (+14 cents) and Hawaii (+11 cents). The largest monthly decreases are in Ohio (-35 cents) and Indiana (-32 cents).

The West Coast still has the most expensive gas prices in the nation with six of the top ten markets in this region. After two weeks, Hawaii bumps Alaska as the state with the most expensive gasoline in the country, followed by Alaska and California. These three states all have averages at or above $3 a gallon. Washington is fourth. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the 23rd week in a row.

Rank Region Price on 12/5/17
1 Hawaii $3.28
2 Alaska $3.24
3 California $3.16
4 Washington $2.97
5 Oregon $2.83
6 Pennsylvania $2.75
7 District of Columbia $2.72
8 Nevada $2.71
9 Connecticut $2.69
10 New York $2.67

According to EIA’s latest report for the West Coast region, gasoline inventories sit at 28.8 million bbl, which is considered a comfortable supply level for the region. West Coast gasoline production fell slightly to 1.57 million b/d, but with gas stocks sitting high, drivers in the region are likely to see prices continue to drop this week.

The nation’s cheapest markets are Alabama ($2.22) and Missouri ($2.23). For the 19th week in a row, no states have an average below $2.

Drivers are paying more than a year ago to fill up. The national average is 29 cents more and the Oregon average is 42 cents more than a year ago. This is the eighth largest yearly increase in the country. Alaska has the greatest year-over-year increase of 63 cents; California is second at 49 cents.

Crude oil prices remain near their highest prices since June 2015 in the wake of last week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna. OPEC and some non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, have agreed to keep their oil production cuts in place through the end of December 2018. Participants in the agreement will continue to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in order to drain the global glut of oil that has suppressed oil prices.

Increased production and investment in drilling from producers outside of the OPEC production reduction agreement have slowed efforts to drain the global glut, which is why OPEC decided to extend its current agreement. All of this news signals that the U.S. is gaining export prowess through increased demand for exports, making up for losses in global supply due to OPEC’s agreement. As the U.S. moves toward exporting more oil and petroleum products than it imports, such as gasoline for the second year in a row, market observers may decide to pull back on optimistic expectations for the price per barrel of crude.

EIA reported last week that U.S. crude production hit its highest point since April 2015 in September of this year. Moreover, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the active U.S. rig count grew by two last week, with rigs now standing at 749 – that is 272 more rigs than last year at this time.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 96 cents to settle at $58.36 per barrel. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session, WTI lost 89 cents to settle at $57.47 per barrel. Today crude is trading around $58, same as a week ago. Crude prices are up about one percent in the last month and are about $6 more per barrel 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.

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Diesel

For the week, the national average remains at $2.84 a gallon. Oregon’s average falls a penny to $3.02. A year ago the national average for diesel was $2.41 and the Oregon average was $2.56.

 

Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.

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