Over the past several years, gas prices have steadily increased, both locally and on a nationwide basis. Many consumers are concerned about this trend and want to know why gas prices have fluctuated so extensively in recent years.
Six key factors can cause the retail price of gasoline to vary over time and by location. They are:
- Changes in the price of crude oil.
- Changes in how much gasoline we demand relative to the supply.
- Federal and state requirements calling for special gasoline blends to improve air quality.
- Seasonal factors that affect supply and demand.
- Changes in federal, state, and local taxes levied on gasoline.
- Changes within the petroleum industry, such as mergers.
Although the Oregon Department of Justice cannot control gas prices, price gouging during an emergency may be a violation of the Unlawful Trade Practices Law.
Oregon’s price gouging law authorizes the Governor to declare an abnormal disruption of the market in response to any emergency that prevents ready availability of essential consumer goods or services. This declaration allows the Oregon Attorney General to act against a business that upsells the price of gasoline — an essential consumer product — by more than 15 percent.
To learn more about price gouging, visit https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/sales-scams-fraud/price-gouging/.
Advertising Gas Prices
Unlike some states where gas prices must be clearly visible to passing drivers, Oregon does not require gas stations to post the price on a street sign. Because of this, it is a good idea to confirm the price of gasoline before filing up.