After fuel prices across the Northwest shot up, in some cases nearly a dollar in less than a month, there is a little relief to report this week.  West Texas Crude hasn’t changed that much, trading Monday slightly lower around $85 per barrel.  So, why did we see the sudden swing up in fuel prices, if we didn’t see a dramatic jump in oil prices.


AAA-Oregon's Marie Dodds said the big fuel price increase was due mostly because six west coast refineries shut down or cut back production.


“The good news is, the refineries are back online, so our situation here on the west coast is starting to get back to normal.  It can take a couple of weeks for all of the product to work its way through, but we are starting to see that light at the end of the tunnel and our prices here are declining.”


Dodds said those half dozen refineries went off-line for a variety of reasons.


“Some were undergoing planned maintenance, others had issues crop up where they had to be shutdown or were operating at reduced capacity.  So, our supply situation had a real squeeze put on it and that sent our prices skyrocketing.”


Dodds said part of the problem started last spring, when some refineries chose not to conduct seasonal maintenance due to a big jump in demand after COVID restrictions were eased.  She also adds she expects OPEC’s recent decision to cut production to have some residual impact in the PNW, but she doesn’t anticipate it will hit the region like what consumers saw earlier this month.


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