NW Life | Energy | Economy | local

Analyst: Rising Gas Prices In Oregon Caused By Reduced Refinery Capacity

OPB | Feb. 18, 2013 3:35 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 6:22 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

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In Oregon, fuel prices are steadily increasing.  According to the gasoline price website, GasBuddy.com, Oregon drivers are paying about thirty cents more per gallon than they were just four weeks ago.  Nationwide, the rise in fuel costs has been even more dramatic with drivers paying on average about 40 cents more per gallon just to fill up.

Michael Clapp / OPB

Greg Laskoski is a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.com

He says this is the time of year when oil refiners start to focus on shifting away from the production of winter blend gasolines and toward the cleaner burning summer blends required by the Environmental Protection Agency.  But Laskoski says in order to make that switch, refineries need to first perform routine maintenance work.  And that means right now many refineries are operating at about 80 percent capacity.

“That creates a tighter supply and anytime you tighten up the supply of anything, the price of that product is going to go up,” he says.

Laskoski says it’s still too early to tell whether drivers will see gasoline hit four dollars a gallon this summer.  He says much of that will depend on the strength of the economy going forward.

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