Portland-area gas prices dip before July Fourth weekend

Gas station in Hillsboro

An Arco gas station located at 1729 NE Cornell Road, Hillsboro, Ore., May 1, 2020. Mark Graves/StaffMark Graves


Gas prices in Oregon and the Portland area dipped slightly before the Fourth of July weekend, perhaps reflecting fears of harder economic times ahead.

Oregon’s average price for a gallon of gas fell 3 cents this week to $5.50. The national average dropped 9 cents to $4.88. And in Portland, the average fell 3 cents to $5.55.

The falling prices, however, may in part reflect general unease about the state of the economy.

Inflation continues to hammer household budgets. Rising gas prices, combined with supply shortages, have pushed prices higher for all manner of goods, including groceries.

In an effort to tamp down on inflation, the Federal Reserve has increased interest rates by three-quarters of a percent, the steepest hike in nearly 30 years. Higher borrowing costs, however, will also put a damper on the now-buzzing economy.

AAA said an economic slowdown would lead to less demand for oil and push oil prices lower.

Crude oil prices, another main driver of prices at the pump, have dipped slightly this week but remain near historic highs. A barrel of crude is around $110 today, compared to $66 this time last year.

The U.S. and several other countries placed strict sanctions on Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, after its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. The sanctions have driven global oil prices higher.

And, while prices could continue to decline in the weeks ahead, any sudden jolts to supply could quickly cause prices to spike again, said Patrick DeHaan, an analyst at the price comparison website GasBuddy.com.

Despite prices hovering just below record highs, Americans are expected to hit the road en masse this weekend. AAA projected that this weekend will see the second-highest travel volume on record for the holiday, lower only than 2019.

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 prices are the fifth-highest nationwide, behind California, Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii. California’s prices remain the highest, and the only state in the nation currently averaging more than $6 a gallon.

And within Oregon, Curry County’s prices are still the most expensive, averaging $5.80 a gallon. Wallowa County’s prices are the second-highest in the state, at $5.69 a gallon. Multnomah County is averaging $5.63 a gallon.

—Jayati Ramakrishnan

—David Cansler