U.S. Travel: Gas Prices Up Around Nation and Oregon This Week
(Portland, Oregon) – More bad news for those looking to fill their tanks around the nation. The Oregon office of the AAA said gas prices rose in Oregon and around the United States (above: Portland's St. John's Bridge).
“Retail gas prices are up slightly this week, but crude prices have fallen so gas prices should taper off in the coming days,” said AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. “The national average for regular unleaded adds two cents to $3.12 while Oregon’s average gains three cents to $3.24. Investors are still keeping a close eye on the unrest in Egypt. But for now speculation has eased that the situation might degrade further. The price of crude oil shot up above $90 a barrel when protesters first took to the streets in Cairo. Investors worried that the unrest could spread to neighboring countries and disrupt the flow of oil from the Middle East. Egypt itself is not a major oil producer, but about 2.9 million barrels of oil a day pass through the Suez Canal and the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline which are controlled by Egypt.”
Crude oil is trading around $87 per barrel Tuesday, down from $91 a week ago when the Egyptian situation sent crude prices to highs not seen since October 2008. The end of last week brought more images of violence in the streets of Cairo; however, there also appeared to be a framework put in place for progress toward a stable transition of power. Traders focused on market fundamentals including a hefty supply of crude oil and weak demand, and oil prices began to retreat.
Experts are still talking about the possibility of gas prices rising to five dollars a gallon by the end of 2012. With prices at the pump already as high as they are now – unusually high for this time of year – and the rising demands of spring and summer still to come, some are seeing similarities to 2008, when the average price per gallon rose to an all time high of $4.11 per gallon.
Gas prices are nearly 50 cents a gallon more than a year ago when the national average was $2.65 and Oregon’s was $2.75.
A report from SpendingPulse shows a third consecutive week of increasing consumer demand in the U.S. and suggested stronger year-on-year growth in the market, and the latest report from the Department of Energy shows that U.S. crude inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels and a 6.2 million barrel increase in gasoline stocks to 236.2 million barrels - their highest level since March of 1990.
The downward pressure on crude prices was also fueled by strength in the U.S. dollar versus the euro.
Forty states (including the District of Columbia) have averages for regular unleaded at or above $3 a gallon, up from 36 last week. For the 11th week in a row, Hawaii has the most expensive gas at $3.74, followed by Alaska at $3.59, California at $3.41 (up a nickel), New York at $3.38, and Connecticut at $3.34. Washington is seventh most expensive for the second week in a row at $3.26 (up two cents). Oregon is eighth up from 10th last week. For the second consecutive week, Wyoming has the cheapest gas at $2.88.
Get the latest fuel prices at AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge at www.aaafuelgaugereport.com/. To check fuel prices across Oregon and the nation, go to the AAA Fuel Price Finder at www.AAA.com.