Lincoln County has the highest gas prices in Oregon. Not only that, Lincoln County’s gas prices rival prices in Alaska and Hawaii. Lincoln County’s gas is coming from the same refineries and the same delivery trucks as surrounding counties.
The recent overall run up in gas prices was due to what the Western States Petroleum Association claimed was a debilitating fire at a Washington State refinery coupled with “maintenance” at other west coast refineries.
However, Washington U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell isn’t buying it. She recently demanded and is getting a federal investigation into what she said appeared to her to be price gouging and market manipulation, extracting $50 million dollars a day extra from weary Washington and Oregon motorists. To read her latest news release on the matter, click here.
As for Lincoln County’s unique dilemma as having the highest gas prices in the state by a very wide margin, (see above graphic) Attorney General’s Office spokesman Tony Green acknowledged that such price differences may be painful for drivers but it doesn’t necessarily meet the law’s definition of gouging. He said distribution aspects or unique market conditions can contribute to wide price disparities. He pointed to the old adage “prices are set based on what the market will bear.” Therefore, differences in gas prices do not necessarily constitute gouging or illegal market manipulation.
Using that definition of our situation Lincoln County’s gas prices may remain the highest in the state until it gets a Fred Meyer or Costco gas station. The city of Florence suffered for years from higher gas prices until Fred Meyer built a gas station in conjunction with their store. Immediately, Florence area gas prices dropped substantially and have stayed lower, closely mirroring gas prices in the valley.