Gas prices rising by leaps and bounds

Ponca City Now - February 25, 2015 11:30 am

Motorists in 96 percent of the states are paying more today for gasoline than they did a week ago. Only in Kentucky and Illinois have retail pump prices declined.

“Oklahoma’s price average for self-serve regular jumped two cents overnight, led by a six cent increase in Tulsa,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Even Oklahoma City’s average, which tends to be less skittish than Tulsa’s, rose by more than half a penny last night.

“Curiously, while retailers were busy bumping up gas prices, crude oil was falling,” said Mai. “West Texas Intermediate fell $1.36 yesterday to close at $49.45 per barrel, its lowest close since Feb. 11.”

Both Oklahoma’s and the nation’s average price for regular gasoline have increased for 29 consecutive days, the longest streak of rising prices since last spring. Today’s national average is $2.31 per gallon, 27 cents more than it was one month ago but still $1.11 less than on Feb. 24, 2014, according to FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com .

Fourteen states have statewide gasoline price averages below that of Oklahoma today, led by Utah at $1.95; Idaho, $1.96; Montana, $2.03; and Wyoming, $2.04.

“Ample supplies of fuel stateside are expected to keep a ceiling on prices, though there is a good chance that prices will continue to rise this spring,” said Mai. ”Scheduled refinery maintenance is limiting production, plus unexpected problems at isolated refineries have impacted supply.”

Last week an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance helped push up prices in California, while bitterly cold weather in the Northeast and Midwest led to a number of refinery problems in those areas.

Global crude oil prices remain volatile, said AAA. Despite U.S. production companies reassessing plans for exploration and production amid shrinking profit margins, domestic crude oil inventories climbed to record levels and output rose to its highest level since 1973, according to a Department of Energy report released last week.

 

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