EASTERN OREGON:  Gas prices keep climbing

EASTERN OREGON: Gas prices keep climbing

Gas prices shoot sky high for the second week in a row. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is up to eight cents to $2.83. Oregon’s average moves up 13 cents to $3.31 a gallon, while Washington states rise 12 cents to $3.41.

In this region, prices aren’t as high as their state averages, but they still jumped upwards. Pendleton’s average price is up 13 cents to $3.18. Hermiston skyrocketed 18 cents to $3.14. In Walla Walla the average price rises 14 cents to $3.30 a gallon. Milton-Freewater is the lowest at $3.06 a gallon, but that’s a 12-cent raise over the week before.

AAA Motor Club Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says a perfect storm conspired to make prices shoot upwards for the second week in a row.

“Oregon has the nation’s seventh largest weekly jump and the second-highest monthly increase, so we are definitely feeling the pain.”

She listed the three main reasons behind the continuation of climbing prices at the pump.

“Shrinking gasoline stocks due to refinery maintenance, as well as increased demand for gas, and higher crude oil prices,” she said.

Dodds reports that refineries always perform maintenance this time of year as they switch to the summer blend of gasoline, but they have run into more than the normal number of problems. She likened it to a person taking his car into the shop for an oil change and finding out that’s not all he needs. She also said that demand is unusually high for April, looking more like the high demand that comes in the summer months.

The price of crude oil is being impacted by global events. Industry observers report that fighting in Libya brings with it the possibility of lower supplies from that OPEC nation. Meanwhile, sanctions from the United States on Venezuela and Iran are already lowering supplies from those two OPEC members, according to reports.