Demand for gasoline is at its highest level for October in a decade. The U.S. energy Information Administration reports that the latest gasoline demand measurement is the highest for the end of October since 2006 and that’s putting upward pressure on prices. For the week, the national average for regular unleaded surges seven cents to $2.54 a gallon while the Oregon average jumps six cents to $2.81.
“Demand for gas has been strong for October, due in part to nice weather in many parts of the country. We didn’t see gasoline consumption drop like we usually do in the fall when the summer driving season comes to an end,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “The robust demand has led to tightened supply levels and gas price hikes. However, AAA doesn’t expect this to be a long-term trend. Gas prices are expected to fall as we approach the holidays.”
Oregon is one of 47 states and Washington D.C. where gas prices are higher week-over-week. Prices are less in two states (Utah and Idaho) and holding steady in one state, Georgia. The largest increases are in Ohio (+19) and Illinois (+19 cents). Utah has a decrease of 3 cents and Idaho’s average is down one cent.
Oregon is one of 28 states where gas prices have risen in the last month. The largest monthly increases are in Indiana (+36 cents) and Ohio (+33 cents). The national average is three cents more and the Oregon average is a penny more than a month ago. The largest monthly decreases are in Georgia (-18 cents) and Alabama (-12 cents).
The West Coast still has the most expensive gas prices in the nation with six of the top ten markets in this region. California bumps Hawaii out of the top spot this week; Hawaii moves to second followed by Alaska. These states remain the only three with averages at or above $3 a gallon. California shows the largest increase for the week in this region with a jump of 18 cents. Washington and Oregon round out the top five. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the 19th week in a row.
Drivers in California are likely to see pump prices increase due to new gasoline taxes that were imposed on November 1. The tax rate for gasoline increased 12cts/gal, from 29.7cts/gal to 41.7cts/gal.
In the EIA’s latest report, total gasoline stocks are below 28 million bbl. On the West Coast, reaching a seven-week low at 27.6 million bbl. Additionally, EIA’s report showed that the refinery utilization rate of crude fell to 81.4 percent from 81.9 percent last week, which means less gasoline is being produced. With demand remaining high and supplies tightening in the region, prices are also being pushed up by these supply and demand factors.
The nation’s cheapest markets are Alabama ($2.22) and Mississippi ($2.24). For the 15th 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 32 cents more and the Oregon average is 28 cents more than a year ago.