Regional refinery issues are putting upward pressure on retail gas prices.
For the week, the national average for regular gained two cents to $2.22 per gallon while Oregon’s average shot up 10 cents to $2.40.
Despite the increases, both averages are at their lowest prices since mid-February and are the cheapest for this date since 2006, says AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds.
“A heavy refinery maintenance season combined with unplanned outages is creating regional volatility in retail gas prices,” she said. “Here on the West Coast, Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, California is reportedly undergoing the largest turnaround work in the refinery’s history, and is now reporting a major unit shutdown. This is creating some supply issues in the short-term, sending retail gas prices higher in the region.”
Prior to news of this unplanned outage at the Richmond facility, the refinery was in the midst of work estimated to last around 80 days, which included maintenance to the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracker. The Midwest is still recovering from its refinery maintenance season. Although gasoline demand typically retreats during the month of November, which could offset any major spikes in price due to supply shortages, these unplanned outages create volatility in retail gasoline prices in the affected regions.
Drivers on the West Coast have the highest gas prices in the nation. Hawaii ($2.87) is the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and it is joined by regional neighbors California ($2.84), Nevada ($2.71), Washington ($2.51) and Oregon ($2.40) as the top five most expensive markets. Oregon had been out of the top 10 most expensive states for the past six weeks. Drivers in six states are paying an average below $2 per gallon, and consumers in South Carolina ($1.95) and Alabama ($1.96) continue to pay the lowest prices at the pump. For the sixth consecutive week, all statewide averages are below $3 per gallon and only four states are posting averages above $2.50 per gallon.