Portland, Oregon gas and diesel trends September 2017

September 21, 2017 By
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Two major events and a holiday have put upward pressure on prices in the Portland, Oregon fuel market. Prices for gas and diesel are expected to stay up through the Labor Day weekend holiday.

(Source of chart is GasBuddy.com. To create your own price chart or review retail gas prices please visit GasBuddy.com for more information)

Special Events Affecting the Portland, Oregon wholesale and retail market.

Both Wholesale (see OPIS Average below) and Retail (see Gas Buddy retail price chart above) saw a $.20 rise in fuel pricing with the added volumes of a robust summer travel season and hot economy in the Pacific Northwest.

Start of Month: August 1st OPIS Average

E10 Gas: $ 1.7736   B5ULS Diesel $1.80

End of Month: August 31st End of Month OPIS Wholesale Rack Average

E10 Gas: $1.9872    B5ULS Diesel  $2.033

According to AAA Oregon, gas prices are up over $.40 a gallon from 2016 to 2017. Wholesale is over $.20 up. Gas Buddy has a write up about this trend they call “the largest weekly rise since 2005” of fuel prices in the United States.

What Star Oilco thinks about Pacific NW Fuel Prices

We predict that the last week of August 2017 will have the highest prices for 2017.  

Two events and a holiday are responsible for higher prices. The Total Eclipse tourist event on August 21st, 2017, the Hurricane impacting the oil patch region and Houston Texas the following week, and then the tradition of the Labor Day driving weekend pushed prices up. The following hurricane season hitting the gulf coast has kept it up as well.

These events have worked to reduce inventories and tighten available supply of gas and diesel products at Portland, Oregon terminals. When refiners and wholesalers of fuel are running tight on supply, distributors and retailers experience limited allocation. This leads to some drivers having to try more than one terminal to get fuel. Driver time being a finite resource further complicates the resupply of retail outlets. This has been seen on again off again since shortly before the Eclipse. It is expected to continue through the Labor Day holiday when fuel volumes will return to normal.

August 21st Eclipse Tourism:  The State of Oregon declared an emergency with their predicted 1 million tourists entering the state for the event. No official count exists for how many tourists did visit Oregon for the event. One thing is obvious on the wholesale level though is that retail prices spiked approximately $.20 a gallon and wholesale availability of gas and diesel at petroleum terminals in Portland was tight, given the recurring allocation rationing of sellers of fuel in 10,000 gallon truckload quantities. Unofficial estimates of 500,000 additional car fill ups put an additional 5 million gallons of retail gas was sold during the Eclipse weekend over what a normal summer weekend would produce.

Hurricane Harvey and Irma:  Hurricane Harvey had a major impact on oil production, refining, and distribution. Hurricane Harvey also hit Houston, the center for many of the major oil companies in the US, does not help matters as well. As this major supply interruption impacts the Gulf Coast the Pacific Northwest is experiencing the price impacts of suddenly reduced supply at a period of high demand. Hurricane Irma followed hitting Florida hard, further disrupting a major oil distribution region. This price impact will hopefully be short lived as crude production, refining, and distribution in affected areas will hopefully be back online in September.

Labor Day Weekend: The last major BBQ holiday of the Summer is always expected to be a driving holiday. Also a hot time for distribution businesses serving a busy economy with strong consumer confidence.

With a slow down in driving and a return to Fall schedules we will see less fuel used for recreational reasons and therefore a slight drop in demand will take a great deal of pressure off of prices, at the same time the Gulf Coast production comes back online. Star Oilco expects lower pricing in mid September, just in time for heating oil season to begin.

If you have an interest in auditing your fuel bill or looking at the strategic way you buy fuel, we are there for you. Feel free to call Star Oilco for a complementary fuel audit or a conversation about ways to connect your way of doing business to the cost of fuel you buy.

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