SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The average price of gas per gallon in Oregon is $3.70, which is the highest average since 2014. Experts said it’s primarily due to people returning to their normal pre-pandemic travel routines, putting a strain on the system.
“The oil industry was badly wounded. Essentially had to lay off tens of thousands of workers,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Fast forward to today and supply remains low.”
He said until the supply can catch up with the demand, it will remain that way.
"I think this summer we're seeing some of that pent-up demand. That should cool off," De Haan said.
But as far as when the supply will kick back up, he believes it will take a while.
“It may take months if not longer for oil production levels to get back to pre-COVID levels,” he said.
Which means higher prices for at least the remainder of the summer. Marie Dodds with AAA Oregon agrees.
"It just takes time for the entire supply chains to get back to more normal situations,” Dodds said.
Oregon is not the only state seeing gas prices rise with the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions. The trend continues on the national level as well.
John and Brittney Shorb are finishing up a cross-country trip from Florida to Seattle. They said they felt the higher prices in a big way.
"No question it's different. We did a road trip last year that was about 3,500 miles. Gas prices were crazy low at that time,” John said.
The couple, like many others, had to make some financial decisions along the way, even if it meant driving a bit out of the way to find the cheaper price.
"When you can fill up and save six bucks here, well that's a cheeseburger when we're going out to dinner. So it does change the conversation for us for sure,'' John said.
The range of gas prices in Oregon is from $3.14 to $4.49.