Local gas prices climb, defying national trend

Cost per gallon up more than 20 cents from one week ago

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor



It looks like recent reports of impending drops in gas prices were premature, at least for those of us who live in the Northwest.

“While the rest of the country is enjoying falling gas prices, we are seeing them skyrocket here on the West Coast,” Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho, said Monday.

According to AAA, Clark County gasoline prices are about $4.26 per gallon this week, up more than 20 cents from one week ago, when fuel prices here averaged $4.05 per gallon. One month ago, pump prices averaged $4.11 per gallon in Clark County. One year ago, the cost per gallon was $3.97.

Oregon’s statewide average jumped 16 cents in the past week, to $4.17 per gallon for regular unleaded, while the national average fell four cents to $3.73 per gallon.

Dodds said local prices were affected by large increases in spot and wholesale gas prices in the past week, mostly tied to temporary shutdowns of three California oil refineries that each produce between 139,000 and 166,000 barrels per day. The Associated Press reported that five of California’s 12 refineries have reduced production for scheduled maintenance.

In addition, the restart of BP’s Cherry Point refinery on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has been uneven. News reports indicate that the refinery, damaged by a fire in February, has struggled to reopen and is still undergoing repairs, Dodds said.