Washington and Oregon motorists- while you're not lucky in the fact prices in the nation are among the highest in your area, you certainly are lucky that prices are ever so slow to rise instead of a quick all at once hike that we had expected.
About a week ago, we warned media and motorists that prices were going to rise quite quickly out in Oregon and Washington. We decided to make the rare step of issuing an alert for these two states. We expected that stations could raise prices over the following few days 10-35c/gal. Some stations did rise 10-15c/gal over the next few days, and nearly none hiked towards to top side of our estimations. That's the good news- it wasn't as fast as an increase as we thought.
Instead of seeing a quick spike in the price of gasoline, like we're accustomed to seeing in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and Wisconsin, we're seeing a very slow moderate rise. And this is why you should consider yourselves "lucky". Instead of prices rising for everyone over Memorial Day all at once, we're seeing a slow rise that will likely last another few days or so.
So while our dire predictions were somewhat correct, the worst wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it would be, and for that, we breathe a sigh of relief.
So- what happened, you ask? Well, spot prices, which are traded much like oil prices, rose about 40c/gal in these areas in one single day, thus the public alert. Then the day after we alerted the media and motorists, prices gave up 10-15c/gal of that initial increase. That helped alleviate the worst of the increases, and calmed the markets down somewhat.
We're still pointing at very tight supply, waiting on a new California Energy Commission report to see how things are moving. This will paint a picture, and we could see things ease or get worse. Bottom line is that motorists out west badly need BP's Cherry Point, WA refinery to get back online ASAP. We'll update you when we hear this has taken place.