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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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Washington and Oregon buck trend of rising gas prices across U.S.

By , Columbian staff reporter

While gas prices are on the rise in most parts of the country, Vancouver residents are paying slightly less at the pump than last month.

The average gallon of regular gas at Vancouver pumps was $3.910 on Tuesday. Although that’s the same price as last week, it’s down from an average of $4.09 in January, which was also the price Feb. 6, 2023.

In Portland, prices were $3.764 per gallon Tuesday, down from $3.798 last week and $3.955 last month. The national average this week of $3.145 per gallon was up from $3.125 a week ago and $3.083 last month, according to AAA.

“Oregon and Washington are bucking the trend right now,” AAA spokeswoman Marie Dodds said. “We are seeing prices fall in our part of the country, where the rest of the country is seeing prices climb.”

This is the time of year prices typically start to rise, Dodds said, when winter weather starts to ease and demand begins to rise. Refineries also typically undertake maintenance ahead of the seasonal fuel switch, meaning supply can be stretched thin.

Washington is still the state with the third highest prices, as it has been for the past several weeks; Oregon remains fifth, Dodds said. She said Washington’s gas is typically the third or fourth most expensive nationwide.

Although Vancouver’s prices have been falling since early December, Dodds noted there was a one cent uptick overnight Monday. But she said it’s too soon to see if it’s the start of an upward trend.

The West Coast can often be insulated from price trends in other parts of the country, Dodds said, partly because of the distance from most refineries, along with environmental protections that add to costs.

“We will react more slowly to some trends,” Dodds said. “Our prices might take longer to fall. They may also take longer to rise.”