PORTLAND, Ore., – Gas prices are still more expensive than last year but the price gap is steadily shrinking. Falling crude oil prices and low winter demand are helping to send fuel prices lower in most states. For the week, the national average for regular falls four cents to $2.43 a gallon. The Oregon average holds steady at $2.98. Both averages are at their lowest price since March of last year.
“Crude oil prices are the cheapest they’ve been in a year due to market concerns about the coronavirus. That along with steady gasoline stock levels and relatively low winter demand have pushed pump prices lower over the past month,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Oregon is one of only two states where prices are steady this week. Gas prices declined in the other 48 states and Washington D.C. Michigan (-8 cents) has the largest weekly decline in the country. Indiana is the other state where the average is the same as a week ago.
This week there are three states with an average above $3 a gallon, same as a week ago.
The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Missouri ($2.07) and Texas ($2.08). For the 52nd week in a row, no states have an average below $2 a gallon.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have lower prices now than a month ago. The national average is 16 cents less and the Oregon average is three cents less than a month ago. Ohio (-30 cents) has the largest month-over-month decline.
Drivers in all 50 states are paying more than a year ago but as mentioned above, the price gap continues to shrink. The national average is 15 cents more and the Oregon average is 21 cents more than a year ago. Colorado (+47 cents) has the biggest year-over-year increase.
The West Coast continues to have the highest pump prices in the nation with all the region’s states landing on the top 10 most expensive list.
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Hawaii is most expensive for the ninth week in a row with California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fourth most expensive for the second week in a row.
On the week, Hawaii (-4 cents) and Arizona (-2 cents) saw the largest decreases in the region.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased by 336,000 bbl to 32.2 million bbl. The current supply level is approximately 400,000 bbl lower than 2019’s level at this time. Pump prices are expected to stay fairly steady this week or decrease somewhat as winter demand remains low amid relatively stable stock levels.
Oil market dynamics
Crude prices have dropped for the third consecutive week as market concerns continue to increase due to the growing impact of the coronavirus on global travel. If international travel decreases, global crude demand would likely follow suit and result in lower crude consumption worldwide. Prices could decrease again this week if concerns about the virus continue to weigh on the crude oil market.
Declining crude prices were contained slightly toward the end of last week after reports emerged that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is considering deeper production cuts to offset demand concerns due to the coronavirus. OPEC and its partners are scheduled to meet in Vienna, Austria on March 5 and 6 to review their existing 1.7 million b/d production reduction agreement, but the cartel said that it may consider having the meeting sooner as the global public health crisis grows.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped by 63 cents to settle at $50.32. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI fell 75 cents to settle at $49.57. Today crude is trading around $50, same as a week ago. Crude prices are down about 14 percent in the last month and are about $3 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 find the closest EV charging stations, map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
For the week, the national average loses four cents to $2.90 a gallon. Oregon’s average slips two cents to $3.18. A year ago, the national average for diesel was $2.92 and the Oregon average was $3.06.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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