As of Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Many drivers are noticing spikes in gas prices for the first time in months. The national average for regular unleaded jumps 12 cents this week to $2.19 a gallon.
Oregon’s average shoots up 13 cents to $2.26 a gallon. The national average had fallen for a record 123 days before beginning to rise again on Jan. 27. Oregon’s average fell for 69 consecutive days before increasing again on Feb. 3, said AAA Oregon/Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds. “Refinery issues and higher crude oil prices mean gas at $2 a gallon is quickly moving into the rearview mirror. Still, prices remain near six-year lows with the national and Oregon averages at their cheapest prices since May 2009.”
February typically marks the start of seasonal refinery maintenance in preparation for the busy summer driving season. Refineries usually schedule maintenance during the first several months of the year when demand is relatively low, which can lead to decreased production and supplies. Retail pump prices typically increase 30 to 50 cents during the spring run-up. Over the last five years, gas prices in February have risen by an average of 22 cents per gallon.
A strike by the United Steelworkers union is causing additional market uncertainty this week because approximately 5,200 members have walked off their jobs at refineries and chemical plants responsible for processing more than 10 percent of U.S. petroleum products. While this is the first nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries since 1980, the work stoppage is not expected to have a significant impact on production in the short-term because refineries continue to operate. While news of the strike has reportedly led to higher wholesale gasoline prices, abundant petroleum supplies may provide both refiners and unions with a chance to reach an agreement before there is a larger impact on consumers.