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Whew! Gas prices expected to fall

Supply shortages ease, gas could fall below $4 a gallon again

After a sudden increase over the Memorial Day weekend, gas prices are now expected to fall in the Portland area and the rest of the West Coast over the next few weeks.

"California will see limited relief as well, but the headline here is the areas where prices saw the biggest increases in the last few weeks - they can breathe a sigh of relief - the worst appears over," says Patrick DeHaan, a Chicago-based petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

According to DeHaan and other experts, gas prices in the West Coast increased in recent weeks because of supply shortages caused by refinery shutdowns. One of the last was BP's Cherry Point refinery outside of Seattle, which closed because of a fire. That refinery has now reopened, however.

"A week ago, I don't think anyone saw this coming. We were talking about BP's unsuccessful attempts at restarting, the California Energy Commission highlighted ultra tight supply amid falling production, and wholesale prices in the Pacific Northwest hit all time record highs. Since then, a barrage of bad news for oil prices has led to good news for motorists. As things stand now, I expect the average price for gasoline to fall under $4 in western Washington and Oregon in the next few weeks," DeHaan says.

GasBuddy operates PortlandGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.