Gas prices have been ticking up slightly ahead of Memorial Day. For the week, the Oregon average for regular gas rose a nickel to $4.18 a gallon.
This holiday weekend, travel volume is expected to be very high. It’s estimated that 578,000 Oregonians will hit the road, driving 50 miles or more from home.
Marie Dodds is with AAA of Oregon. She said despite this week’s price increases at the pump, drivers will find a gallon of gas is about a dollar cheaper than this time last year.
“You’ll recall that a year ago, we had the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which was impacting crude oil prices and therefore our gasoline prices,” she said. “And we saw a lot of demand for travel return after the COVID years. This year, things are more normal in the world of gasoline and oil so those pump prices will be what we will typically expect for a holiday weekend to kick off the summer travel season.”
Oregon currently has the sixth highest gas prices in the country. For the week, the national average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.54.
Dodds said western states tend to have fairly tight supplies of gasoline all the time. That’s because states in the west tend to produce as much gasoline as they consume. Demand dictates price. Because our region is located relatively far from the nation’s largest oil drilling, production and refineries—it costs more to transport gasoline out West.
And Dodds added, Oregonians tend to care about the environment. “Our gasoline must meet tougher environmental standards than gas in some other parts of the country. So, these environmental programs here in the West add to the cost of production, storage and distribution,” said Dodds.
Oregon is one of only five states with higher prices now than a month ago. According to data gathered by AAA, the national average is 13 cents less and the Oregon average is nine cents more than a month ago. Utah (+40 cents) has the largest monthly jump. Florida (-32 cents) has the largest month-over-month drop.
Dodds offered a tip for summer travelers: book in advance. Whether it’s camping, lodging or renting a car, she said make reservations as early as possible given the forecast for this summer’s travel volume.