Gas prices drop

 

Last updated 12/20/2022 at Noon



Oregonians along with the rest of the U.S. are seeing some relief from months of budget-killing fuel prices. As of December 19, the price per gallon of regular unleaded in Oregon hit $3.845, well below last month’s price of $4.693. Just last week, the price was still over $4.

Sisters prices are right at that statewide average this week, while in Redmond the lowest price for regular is $3.57, according to Gas Buddy, a popular phone app that lets buyers find cheap gas by location, grade, or brand.

Station attendants in Sisters tell The Nugget that since the run up in gas prices more and more shoppers no longer say “fill ‘er up.” They are either, as is the case nationally, buying by dollar amount than tank, or in Sisters, putting in just enough to get them to Bend or Redmond where they can save about $6 per tank.

If a driver is already going to Redmond then it’s an obvious savings. If you have a 20- gallon tank the savings can be as much as $8/tank. It’s a false economy local stations say to deadhead for gas only. If your car has a 15-gallon tank and gets 25 mpg, it will take $5.90 to get to and from Redmond to save $6.

The bad news: diesel prices remain stubbornly high at $4.949/gallon average in Oregon. Until the start of 2021 when the pandemic was in full force, diesel fetched only a 20-24¢ premium over regular. Now it’s more than a dollar more per gallon in Sisters.

Sisters Country in its rural setting is more dependent on diesel than more urban areas. Farming and ranching run on diesel and many workers in Sisters Country are employed in forest products or construction, relying on a diesel powered truck for their labors.

It’s the same diesel that is the cause of much of our inflation and rise in airfares. Name an everyday product that isn’t delivered by rail, truck, or air freight, all of which are powered by diesel. That’s a key reason why consumers paid an average $3.42 for a dozen Grade A, large eggs in October — up from $1.82 a year earlier, according to federal data.

Oregon Food Bank says: “Every aspect of our food distribution operations has faced significant cost spikes, from purchases to transportation costs. Since December of 2021, our fuel costs are up 30 percent, freight costs to transport food to our warehouses is up 16 percent.”

In a Bloomberg report from late November, they paint a pessimistic picture: “Within the next few months, almost every region on the planet will face the danger of a diesel shortage at a time when supply crunches in nearly all the world’s energy markets have worsened inflation and stifled growth.

“The toll could be enormous, feeding through into everything from the price of a Thanksgiving turkey to consumer bills for heating homes this winter. In the U.S. alone, the surging diesel cost will mean a $100 billion hit to the economy, according to Mark Finley, an energy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy.”

Prices in Oregon have dropped down close to last year’s average of $3.771/gallon. Enjoy it while it lasts. Trading Economics in New York, a leading international data collector and forecaster, predicts a gallon of regular will rise nationally to $4.125 in the first quarter, $4.277 in the second, and $4.428 in the third quarter.

A brighter long-sterm forecast from Fitch Solutions expects the price to continue its downward trajectory, dropping to $2.50 nationally in 2024, from $2.90 in 2023. The firm’s gasoline price forecast for 2025 projects the price to drop to $2.45 in 2025 and $2.38 in 2026.

 

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