As Harvey continues to blast Texas and the Gulf Coast with heavy rains, inflicting some of the worst flooding in history in the Houston area, gas prices are climbing in many parts of the country. Reduced fuel supplies due to the storm, along with the expected increase in demand due to the Labor Day weekend are putting upward pressure on pump prices. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded adds four cents to $2.38. This is one of the largest one-week price surges for the national average seen this summer. The Oregon average gains two-and-a-half cents to $2.84.
“Pump prices in Oregon and the West Coast aren’t seeing significant increases in gas prices due to Harvey since we don’t depend on the Gulf Coast for our gasoline. Price spikes aren’t expected in Oregon because pump prices here already climbed due to significant demand surrounding the August 21 eclipse. However it’s reasonable to expect prices to increase a few cents more leading up to the Labor Day weekend,” says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds.
AAA says Harvey could have a greater impact on gas prices in the Gulf Coast and the Midwest. The unprecedented flooding has impacted operations and access to refineries in the Gulf Coast and Texas. When the water recedes, damage to refineries could cause ripple effects across the country. Pump prices are already expected to climb leading up to the Labor Day weekend and supply disruptions due to Harvey could cause additional price surges, sending the national average to $2.50 a gallon.
Prices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased in the last week. The largest jumps are in Ohio (+9 cents) and Georgia (+8 cents). Texas has the fifth largest weekly increase at 6 cents.
The West Coast continues to have the most expensive pump prices in the nation. This week Hawaii is joined by California as the only two states in the nation with averages at or above $3. Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada round out the top seven most expensive states. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the ninth week in a row.
West Coast gasoline inventories took a 500,000 bbl draw on the week, which is largely attributed to last week’s heavy tourism in the Pacific Northwest tied to the eclipse. The draw brings the inventory levels to 26.1 million bbl, which is the lowest level seen in the region this year.
The nation’s cheapest markets are Mississippi ($2.13) and Alabama ($2.13). For the fifth week in a row, no states have an average below $2.
Drivers are paying more to fill up compared to one year ago. The national average is currently 16 cents per gallon more and the Oregon average is 38 cents more than a year ago.
Oregon has the third-largest monthly increase in the nation and is one of 48 states and the District of Columbia to see pump prices rise in the last month. The largest monthly increases are in Idaho (+23 cents), Utah (+18 cents) and Oregon (+18 cents). Michigan and Indiana are the only states where prices fell in the last month and both decreases are two cents or less. The national average is seven cents more and the Oregon average is 18 cents more than a month ago.
Source: Automobile Association of America