The Oregon average for regular unleaded is slightly lower than the national average. The Oregon average adds three cents this week to $3.35 a gallon, while the national average gains a nickel to $3.36. It's the first time in 21 months that the Oregon average has been lower than the national average.
Last week, the Oregon average was just two-tenths of a cent more than the national average. The Oregon average is rarely less than the national average, and in fact is usually a dime to 25 cents a gallon higher. The Oregon average got within fractions of a penny of the national average at the start of February of last year, but the last time the Oregon average was actually less than the national average was on May 14, 2011 when the national average was $3.969, and the price in Oregon was $3.965. That was one of only ten times all around that date since 2008 that the pump price in Oregon has been less than the national average.
The national average has increased for 12 consecutive days, the longest such streak since prices rose for 21 straight days July 28 through August 18, 2012. However, the national average has only increased by seven cents since New Year's Day, compared to a 15-cent increase in the same period of 2012. The Oregon average decreased two cents in the first 29 days of 2013, compared to a nine-cent increase in the same period last year. Both the national and Oregon averages are less than they were a year ago, when the national average was $3.43 and Oregon's was $3.48.
Pump prices rose to begin 2012 because of higher global oil prices due to geopolitical tensions with Iran. This year, while markets have kept an eye on recent episodes of violence in Algeria, gas prices have risen largely because of higher oil prices from positive economic news and recent regional refinery issues.