Retail gas prices in Oregon are edging down, while the national average remains the same as it was last week. The Oregon average for regular unleaded drops a nickel this week to $3.33 a gallon, while the national average remains at $3.30. "We don't often see our state average so close to the national average. Often, gas prices here are 10 to 25 cents or more higher," says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. "In the first two weeks of 2013, pump prices nationally have only risen a penny as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have remained within a $90 to $95 per barrel range. In the same period to start 2012, gas prices jumped 12 cents because of increased geopolitical tensions with Iran, with WTI prices holding near $100 per barrel."
Both the national and Oregon averages are less than they were a year ago. After setting new all-time daily records for each calendar day since August 20, the national average price fell below the year-ago price on Saturday, Jan. 5, and has now been cheaper than the same day in 2012 for 11 straight days. The Oregon average dropped below the year-ago price on Nov. 3, 2012.
While the national average is up four cents in the last month, and Oregon's average is up a penny in the last month, drivers in nearly half of the states have seen prices decrease. These declines have been most dramatic in the Mountain West, with prices in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado each falling more than 30 cents per gallon. Drivers in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Washington D.C. have seen the highest increases, as prices have risen by at least 13 cents per gallon in each state.
A refinery issue might send prices rising in California and along the West Coast in the coming days, after news of a flaring due to an operational glitch at the Chevron refinery in El Segundo. The impact of this unintentional shutdown comes at the same time that a number of refineries in California are already offline due to unplanned repairs or seasonal maintenance.
Prices in the Midwest may also increase in the coming days following an electrical fire on Saturday at the Wood River refinery in Roxana, Ill. The impacted crude unit is likely to remain shut down until later this week.
Crude oil prices have traded in a narrow range to begin 2013, as ample product inventories in most parts of the country and continued weak demand have largely offset upward pressure from a weaker U.S. dollar and some positive economic news