Pump prices are climbing due to increasing demand as states reopen for business and higher crude oil prices. The national average is now just a few cents away from returning to $2 a gallon while the Oregon average is inching back up to $2.50. For the week, the national average for regular jumps seven cents to $1.96 a gallon. The Oregon average adds four cents to $2.44.
The national average dropped to a low of $1.76 in April and the Oregon average fell to $2.38 earlier this month before starting to rise again.
The more expensive pump prices can be attributed to fluctuations in demand and crude oil prices. In the past week, crude oil hit its highest price point – nearly $34 per barrel – since the Trump Administration declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency and many states started implementing stay-at-home restrictions. While demand has been increasing since the end of April, it is down 28 percent compared to the first three weeks of May last year.
“Gas prices have been significantly cheaper than normal for the past two months due to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Now as states begin to re-open, pump prices are pushing more expensive,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “AAA expects gas prices to continue to rise, however prices should remain cheaper than last year.”
One factor that could cause a sudden spike in gas prices is the Atlantic hurricane season, which is June 1 through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the 2020 season will be above-normal, potentially resulting in 13-19 named storms. An average Atlantic hurricane season typically produces 12 named storms, including 3 major hurricanes.
Oregon is one of 49 states with higher prices now compared to one week ago. Colorado (+17 cents) and Utah (+14 cents) have the largest weekly increases. The District of Columbia (-4 cents) and Hawaii (-1/2 cent) are the only areas with weekly declines.