Drivers on the West Coast and nationwide are enjoying double-digit declines in pump prices. The national average for regular unleaded falls 13 cents this week to $3.65 while Oregon's statewide average drops 11 cents to $3.96. These are the largest week-over-week declines in four years. Retail prices plummeted during the second-half of 2008, as the U.S. economy collapsed, and the national average fell from the all-time peak of $4.11 per gallon on July 17 to $1.62 to end the year. That year the Oregon average peaked at $4.29 on July 3 and ended the year at $1.74.
AAA expects gas prices across the country will continue to drop as we head into November and will move even lower approaching the end of the year, barring any unforeseen events. Wholesale gasoline futures have dropped about 30 cents since the start of October, and retail prices, which typically lag wholesale price declines, are now beginning to reflect this drop.
High gas prices continue to not just be a front-of-mind issue for drivers, but also a frequent topic in Washington D.C. and on the Presidential campaign trail. AAA has consistently noted, because crude oil is a publically traded global commodity, there is no silver-bullet solution to high gas prices and there is very little that politicians can do in the short-term to meaningfully impact prices. This fact has been evident throughout 2012 as consumers have experienced volatile pump prices due to increasing global demand, geopolitical tensions overseas, international economic news, and most recently domestic supply and distribution issues.