The national average for regular climbs again this week, driven by a rally in crude oil prices and severe heat causing issues at U.S. refineries. Crude oil rose to $79 per barrel this week, the highest price since mid-April. Record-breaking heat across much of the U.S. has led to some refinery outages. Only five states, including Oregon, are seeing lower pump prices. For the week, the national average adds seven cents to $3.64. The Oregon average slips two cents to $4.58.
“The national average is at its most expensive price since late April. The Oregon average is at its lowest price in a month. Sustained, record-breaking heat across much of the U.S. has led to issues at refineries, resulting in reduced output. Higher crude oil prices are adding to the mix, propping up gas prices,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
Crude oil prices have been climbing over the past four weeks after remaining in the upper $60s per barrel to the mid-$70s through May and June. Demand for gas in the U.S. is steady compared to last week but gasoline stocks have dropped. The tighter supplies and the rally in crude oil prices will likely lead to higher pump prices.
Crude oil is trading around $79 today compared to $76 a week ago and $97 a year ago. In June, West Texas Intermediate ranged between about $67 and $73 per barrel. In May, WTI ranged between about $63 and $77 per barrel. In April, WTI ranged between about $73 and $83. In March, WTI ranged between about $64 and $81 per barrel. In February, WTI ranged between about $73 and $80 per barrel. In January, WTI ranged between about $73 and $82 bbl. Crude reached recent highs of $123.70 on March 8, 2022, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and $122.11 per barrel on June 8, 2022. The all-time high for WTI crude oil is $147.27 in July 2008.
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 increased slightly from 8.76 to 8.86 million b/d for the week ending July 14, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This compares to 8.52 million b/d a year ago. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks fell from 219.5 to 218.4 million bbl. With supplies tight, if demand climbs, pump prices will follow suit.
Oregon is one of only five states with lower prices now than a week ago. Florida (+16 cents) has the largest weekly jump. Nevada (-2 cents) has the largest weekly decrease. The other states with weekly decreases are Oregon (-2 cents), Idaho (-1 cent), Washington (-1 cent), and California (-1 cent).
Washington ($4.93) has the most expensive gas in the nation for the sixth week in a row. California ($4.90) is second, Hawaii ($4.69) is third, Oregon ($4.58) is fourth, Alaska ($4.31) is fifth, and Nevada ($4.21) is sixth. These are the six states with averages at or above $4 a gallon, same as a week ago. This week 44 states and the District of Columbia have averages in the $3-range. No state has an average in the $2 range this week.
The cheapest gas in the nation is in Mississippi ($3.09) and Louisiana ($3.22). For the 132nd week in a row, no state has an average below $2 a gallon.
The difference between the most expensive and least expensive states is $1.84 this week, compared to $1.92 a week ago.
Oregon is one of 13 states with lower prices now than a month ago. The national average is six cents more and the Oregon average is five cents more than a month ago. Colorado (+22 cents) has the largest monthly jump. Arizona (-20 cents) has the largest monthly drop.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have lower prices now than a year ago. The national average is 72 cents less and the Oregon average is 59 cents less than a year ago. Idaho (-$1.14) has the largest yearly drop. Washington (-20 cents) has the smallest. Last year, crude oil prices and pump prices rose rapidly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The West Coast region continues to have the most expensive pump prices in the nation with six of the seven states in the top 10. It’s typical for the West Coast to have six or seven states in the top 10 as this region tends to consistently have fairly tight supplies, consuming about as much gasoline as is produced. In addition, this region is located relatively far from parts of the country where oil drilling, production and refining occurs, so transportation costs are higher. And environmental programs in this region add to the cost of production, storage and distribution.
For the week, the national average gains four cents to $3.90 a gallon. The record high is $5.816 set on June 19, 2022. The Oregon average remains at $4.42. The record high is $6.47 set on July 3, 2022. A year ago the national average for diesel was $5.41 and the Oregon average was $6.19.