Gas Prices at the Pump Dip Slightly Again Due to Low Demand

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As summer comes to an end, demand for gasoline remains relatively low which is helping to keep pump prices steady or decreasing in most states. For the week, the national average slips a penny to $2.18 a gallon.

The Oregon average also falls a penny to $2.64. In Hermiston, the average price per gallon is around $2.49.

U.S. gasoline demand is 8.48 million barrels per day (b/d), which is a slight uptick from the previous week’s 8.39 million b/d, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, the small increase — likely due to Labor Day weekend road trips — is still 461,000 b/d lower than last year at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Oregon and most other states have seen prices tick down a cent or two in the last week. AAA expects prices will continue to decline as fall begins. We normally see driving decrease this time of year, and that drop in demand as well as the switch to winter-blend fuel should continue to send prices lower in the coming weeks,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Mid-September is typically a point in the year when gas prices fall due to the switchover from summer-blend to winter-blend, which is cheaper to produce. The difference between the two blends comes down to Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The higher – or more volatile – the RVP, the more able it is to evaporate at low temperatures. Winter-blend has a higher RVP which allows the fuel to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold. If the RVP is too low on a frigid day, the vehicle will be hard to start and once started, will run rough.

Oregon is one of 42 states and the District of Columbia where prices have changes less than a nickel in the last week. Michigan (-10 cents) has the largest weekly decrease. West Virginia (+7 cents) has the largest week-over-week increase.

For the 15th week in a row, Hawaii ($3.25) and California ($3.23) are the only two states in the nation with an average at or above $3 a gallon.

The cheapest gas in the nation can be found in Mississippi ($1.85) and Texas ($1.87). This is the 27th week in a row that one or more states has an average below $2 a gallon.

Hawaii is most expensive for the second week in a row with California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon, and Alaska rounding out the top 6. Arizona is 12th. Oregon is fifth most expensive for the fifth week in a row.

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