Gas Prices Continue Plunge

Pump prices and crude oil prices are doing a nosedive. Gas prices are down in all 50 states this week, with Oregon and the other West Coast states seeing some of the biggest declines. For the week, the national average for regular loses 12 cents to $3.52 a gallon. The Oregon average plummets 19 cents to $4.42. Oregon has the fifth-largest weekly drop and second-largest monthly drop for a state in the nation.

Crude oil prices are at their lowest prices since December 2021, below $80 per barrel, and that’s helping to push pump prices lower. Extreme coronavirus restrictions in China and concerns over a global recession are the major driving factors behind the lower crude oil prices.

Crude oil prices rose above $90 briefly earlier this month but have been lower than $80 for the past week. Crude reached a recent high of $122.11 per barrel on June 8, and ranged from about $94 to $110 per barrel in July. In August, crude prices ranged between about $86 and $97. In September, crude prices ranged between about $76 and $88 per barrel. In October, crude ranged between $82 and $92 per barrel.

Crude prices rose dramatically leading up to and in the first few months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia is one of the world’s top oil producers and its involvement in a war causes market volatility, and sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and other western nations resulted in tighter global oil supplies. Oil supplies were already tight around the world as demand for oil increased as pandemic restrictions eased. A year ago, crude was around $70 per barrel compared to $77 today.

Crude oil is the main ingredient in gasoline and diesel, so pump prices are impacted by crude prices on the global markets. On average, about 56% of what we pay for in a gallon of gasoline is for the price of crude oil, 20% is refining, 11% distribution and marketing, and 14% are taxes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Demand for gasoline in the U.S. fell from 8.74 million to 8.33 million b/d for the week ending November 18. This compares to 9.33 million b/d at this time last year. Total domestic gasoline stocks rose by more than 3 million bbl to 211 million bbl. Increasing supply and fewer drivers fueling up have pushed pump prices lower. As demand remains low and stocks grow, drivers will likely see pump prices keep falling barring any supply glitches.

For the week, the national average loses nine cents to $5.20 a gallon. The record high is $5.816 set on June 19. The Oregon average falls six cents to $5.46. The record high is $6.47 set on July 3. A year ago the national average for diesel was $3.64 and the Oregon average was $3.82.

Source: AAA

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