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Gas prices on the rise ahead of holiday weekend

 A sign displays gas prices. The cost is $4.39 and 9/10ths per gallon of regular when paying cash.
Chris Lehman
A sign displays fuel prices in Eugene on June 14, 2023.

The average price of unleaded in Oregon jumped 17 cents this week to $4.47 per gallon.

One factor, said Marie Dodds, spokesperson for AAA Oregon and Idaho, is a scheduled maintenance shutdown of a pipeline that supplies the region.

“This expected work is supposed to get underway in the next week or so, and it has caused wholesale prices to rise dramatically here in the Pacific Northwest,” said Dodds.

Another factor: It's summer, and even beyond the expected short-term uptick for the Juneteenth holiday weekend, people just seem to be hitting the road more than they did last year.

"There was some head scratching this year about what those demand numbers would look like," said Dodds. "For many, this is the first summer that families are venturing out again after the pandemic. We did see travel last year but it was fairly limited in scope."

Dodds said travel patterns so far this year resemble those from prior to the pandemic.

In Eugene, the average price is lower than the state as a whole, at $4.40 per gallon. Albany and Pendleton are in a virtual tie for the lowest gas prices in the state, at $4.28 per gallon. Drivers in Medford and Ashland are paying the most, at $4.62 per gallon.

The national average, meanwhile, is $3.59 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to AAA.

The current Oregon average is still more than a dollar less than the state’s all-time record high of $5.55 a gallon, which was recorded exactly one year ago this week, as world fuel prices fluctuated in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”