If it feels as though you’re paying a little more for gasoline in recent weeks, you’re right.
Mid-valley fuel prices have increased from 10 to 13 cents in the last two weeks and industry experts predict the trend may continue for a while. Gas prices are up 38 cents from the same time period a year ago.
Locally, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline had dipped into the $2.87 to $2.89 range for cash sales, but Monday morning, those prices had edged up to $2.99.
Area high prices are in the $3.39 per gallon range.
In Corvallis, the Towne Pump on Kings Boulevard is selling regular gasoline for about $3.07, Safeway is at $3.13 and Chevron is at $3.15.
Nationwide, the price of gasoline increased about 2.2 cents per gallon last week to $2.91 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. The average price of a gallon of diesel increased to $3.27 per gallon.
“The national average gas price has broken out of a well-established rut, climbing above $2.90 per gallon for the first time since mid-June on rising oil prices ahead of the reinstatement of sanctions against Iran and OPEC failing to pump enough oil to meet robust demand,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “We may see prices continue to lift ahead of the midterms, however completely unrelated to the elections, but due to constant threats from an improving economy: higher demand and lower supply is tipping the balance of the oil market and pushing prices higher.”
DeHaan added, “We may even soon see $3 per gallon nationally, which would be the first time since October 2014, if oil prices continue to rise. I, along with motorists, will be eagerly awaiting any relief at the pump, but don’t hold your breath — it may get worse before it gets better.”
Gasoline and diesel prices have moved higher, following oil, to near four-year highs on upcoming sanctions on Iran and OPEC’s hard line on increasing oil production to meet high global demand. The U.S. economy continues its streak of robust growth, adding a level of urgency for more oil production as unemployment rates fell to their lowest since 1969 last week.
Adding pressure on fuel prices is the fact that several refineries in the United States are down for maintenance and Canada’s largest refinery was damaged by fire.
States with the lowest average gas prices: South Carolina ($2.59), Mississippi ($2.60), Alabama ($2.62), Louisiana ($2.64) and Texas ($2.64)
States with the highest average gas prices: Hawaii ($3.80), California ($3.78), Washington ($3.42), Alaska ($3.30) and Oregon ($3.28).