Gasoline costs less in Vancouver now than it did a year ago, with prices having gone up midyear and back down in the fall as a surplus of crude oil saturated the wholesale market.
But AAA says Northwesterners should not become complacent about lower prices. Although prices could stay low or even drop in January, AAA predicts they could rise by 50 cents per gallon or more before winter’s end as refineries take on maintenance work in preparation for the summer driving season.
But with crude prices stuck around $35 a barrel, no one is predicting a spike in prices anytime soon. The U.S. Energy Administration, in its most recent report on Dec. 8, forecast U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.04 per gallon this month and $2.36 for 2016.
A year-end review of average daily gas prices based on data from AAA Oregon/Idaho shows that a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline cost $2.67 in Vancouver in December 2014 and is selling for $2.36 this week. Over the course of the year, the local price hit bottom at $2.11 on Jan. 26 and peaked at $3.18 on July 13, based on a review of average gasoline prices on Mondays only. Prices in Vancouver tracked within pennies of the statewide average gasoline price throughout the year.
The low prices are well below Vancouver’s all-time peak average price of $4.35 on June 28, 2008. Shortly after that peak in Vancouver and similar peaks nationwide, prices fell dramatically as a deepening recession cut into travel and consumer spending.