Area's gas prices continue to defy national trend

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West Coast and local gas prices continued to climb in the past week, again defying price drops in much of the nation.

Vancouver's average climbed by five cents, while Oregon's statewide average gains three cents to $4.25.

Meanwhile, the national average for regular unleaded dropped four cents this week to $3.64, according to AAA Oregon/Idaho.

Oregon's record high of $4.29 was set on July 3 of 2008, and AAA predicts continued pressure for gas increases due to ongoing problems at West Coast refineries.

Washington's Cherry Point refinery, the state's largest, was shut down in February after a fire and has been mostly off line since then. Other West Coast refineries have also been hit by unplanned outages.

Nationally, this year's high point for gas prices was on April 6, at $3.94 per gallon. The national average has been dropping ever since, and it fell by 18 cents in the last month, AAA reported.

Fifteen states now have gas below $3.50 a gallon, AAA said.