Gas prices edged down last week even as sales of gasoline have increased.
In Oregon, prices at the pump dropped 9 cents from last week, and are now averaging $5.38 per gallon. Portland saw a drop of 8 cents this week, and is averaging $5.45 per gallon.
Nationwide, gas prices are falling faster. The average fell 14 cents this week to $4.66 a gallon, and all 50 states are seeing price drops at the pump.
The reason, according to AAA, is that the price of crude oil has fallen about 20% in the past month. Despite more drivers hitting the road this summer, the price of crude is driving gas prices down. After hitting a high of $122 a barrel on June 8, crude oil costs have dropped to about $97 per barrel this week, said AAA spokesperson Marie Dodds.
While that may provide some release for consumers, it may suggest uncertainty about the health of the global economy, as buyers of oil worry a looming downturn could sink demand.
Economic headwinds include the Federal Reserve’s efforts to tamp down on inflation by raising the price of borrowing money. That could lead businesses to slow investment and hiring, reducing oil demand. COVID-19 lockdowns in China could also slow demand.
Prior to this year, Oregon and national gas prices had peaked in the summer of 2008. Oregon’s $4.29 per gallon record from that year would be about $5.76 today, accounting for inflation.
Oregon’s gas prices are now fifth-highest in the nation, behind California, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii. California is the only state averaging more than $6 a gallon.
And within the state, prices have eased in most counties. Curry County is still the most expensive, averaging $5.83 per gallon.