Plummeting crude oil prices, coronavirus outbreak are the drivers of lower pump prices
PORTLAND, Ore., – Pump prices continue their downward slide with decreases in all 50 states. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded drops 13 cents to $2.11 a gallon. The Oregon average tumbles 11 cents to $2.80.
The national average is at its lowest price since April 2016. The Oregon average is at its lowest price since last March.
Crude oil is the biggest driver of the less expensive gas prices. In the last week, crude oil prices dropped to $22/bbl – a low not seen since 2002. Crude oil accounts for nearly 60 percent of the retail pump price. When crude is cheap, gas prices follow suit.
“Normally pump prices start to move up this time of year as we see more driving due to nicer weather and spring break. That’s obviously not the case this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Americans are staying home and practicing social distancing. A growing number of states including Oregon are issuing stay at home orders. This is leading to less traffic which will drive down demand, increase gasoline supplies and push pump prices lower for the foreseeable future,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Oregon is one of all 50 states and the District of Columbia where pump prices are lower this week. Oregon is one of 39 states and the District of Columbia with double-digit drops. Wisconsin (-24 cents) has the largest weekly drop while Utah (-6 cents) has the smallest.
This week there are two states with an average at or above $3 a gallon, down from three states a week ago.
The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Oklahoma ($1.70) and Ohio ($1.77). This is the second week in a row that one or more states has an average below $2 a gallon.
Oregon is one of all 50 states and the District of Columbia with lower prices now than a month ago. The national average is 20 cents less and the Oregon average is 18 cents less than a month ago. Ohio (-65 cents) has the largest month-over-month decline.
Oregon is one of 48 states and the District of Columbia where drivers are paying less than a year ago. The national average is 52 cents less and the Oregon average is 16 cents less than a year ago. Utah (+8 cents) and Hawaii (+3 cents) are the only two states with year-over-year increases.
The West Coast continues to have the highest pump prices in the nation with all of the region’s states landing on the top 10 most expensive list.
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Hawaii is most expensive for the 15th week in a row with California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, and Arizona rounding out the top seven. Oregon is fourth most expensive for the eighth week in a row.
Pump prices in all West Coast states are down week-over-week. Alaska (-17 cents) has the largest drop in the region.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased by 1.58 million bbl to 30.06 million bbl, which is 1.27 million bbl lower than the level at this time in 2019. Pump prices are likely to continue decreasing this week, barring any supply challenges.
Oil market dynamics
COVID-19 and the crude price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to push crude prices down. Moving into this week, crude prices will continue decreasing as the world grapples with how to contain the ongoing global public health crisis and associated economic challenges that could lead to a global recession. Until Saudi Arabia and Russia end their price standoff and the spread of COVID-19 ceases, domestic crude prices are likely to remain low.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased by $2.79 to settle at $22.43. At the close of Monday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI added 73 cents to close at $23.36. Today crude is trading around $24 compared to $27 a week ago. Crude prices are down about 54 percent in the last month and are about $36 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 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 falls seven cents to $2.66 a gallon. Oregon’s average loses eight cents to $2.98. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.02 and the Oregon average was $3.12.
Find current fuel prices at GasPrices.AAA.com.
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