Prices at the Forest Grove Chevron sit at $3.33. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS - Gas prices in the 97106 area code are just three cents higher than the Oregon state average, according to AAA Oregon-Idaho, which sounds like good news, but the price of gas also rose during the last month about 50 cents per gallon of regular-grade gasoline.

GasBuddy.com’s data as of April 19, 2019 found the Chevron on S. Main Street in Banks selling regular gas for $3.33 per gallon, or about $50 for 15 gallons. A call to the Chevron station confirmed this number. A call to the Banks Shell station was not answered. In Gales Creek, the Shell Station on Highway 6, owned by Sheldon Oil like the Banks Shell, quoted their per-gallon price as $3.33 as well.

Your cheapest local gas of the day might be found at the Time Station in Buxton, where we were told gas sits at $3.19 per gallon.

AAA Oregon-Idaho also finds Oregon is one of 42 states, as well as the District of Columbia, where drivers are paying more for full tanks than just one year ago. The Oregon average price is 17 cents more than it was in April 2018, the sixth-largest annual increase in the U.S. 

By comparison, California’s average gas price increased 46 cents during the last year while Idaho’s prices fell 20 cents during the same period, the second largest year-to-year decrease of all 50 states.

“The west coast is especially hard hit with tightening gasoline stocks due to planned and unplanned refinery maintenance,” AAA Oregon-Idaho Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds said. 

She added that the reason prices spiked since mid-March and likely will continue to increase is that U.S. gasoline stocks decreased by 7.7 million barrels of oil while demand increased to summer-like highs. 

Additionally, the U.S. tightening its export sanctions against Iran and Venezuela and the increase of the price of crude oil from $47 per barrel to $63 per barrel resulted in higher prices. 

The most inexpensive gas on the U.S.? Alabama ranks No. 1 at $2.51 per gallon with Mississippi a close second at $2.52.