Gasoline price climb continues

Ponca City Now - February 18, 2015 11:04 am

S ince Jan. 27, Oklahoma’s pump prices have been on the march, jumping 32 cents during the three-week period.

“Gasoline prices have increased due to more expensive crude oil costs and the start of refinery maintenance season,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “It’s fairly typical for pump prices to rise this time of year. Refinery maintenance limits fuel production. Plus, rising crude oil costs have made it more expensive for refineries to produce gasoline.”

Barring any major disruptions in supply, AAA anticipates Oklahoma drivers will pay prices below $2.70 per gallon throughout 2015. Even with averages trending higher, ample gasoline supplies and lower crude oil costs than in recent years should prevent prices from rising as high as in recent memory. In addition, the recent cold, snowy weather has limited driving and gasoline demand.

OPEC’s decision not to cut production quotas is beginning to impact global energy development, as companies in the U.S. and other countries with high production costs have been curtailing investments and employment.

The global price of Brent crude rallied this past week and closed above the $60 per barrel benchmark for the first time in 2015. This represents an increase of more than 30 percent since mid-January and is further proof of the global oil market’s volatility.

At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX yesterday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled up 75 cents from Friday at $53.53 per barrel. Markets were closed Monday for Presidents Day.

As in Oklahoma, the national average price for regular gasoline has increased every day since Jan. 27, for a total of 24 cents per gallon. Today’s nationwide average price of $2.27 per gallon is 20 cents more than the price one month ago. Drivers are still paying an average of $1.10 less at the pump in comparison to this date last year, a spread that has slowly started to narrow after widening to as much as $1.25 per gallon on Jan. 26.

“With prices increasing across the country, a shrinking number of states are registering an average below $2.00 per gallon,” said Mai. “Only Idaho and Utah at $1.95 and Montana at $1.99 remain below this threshold.”

Hawaii ($3.02) continues to lead the market and is the only state with an average above $3 per gallon. California ($2.82), Alaska ($2.56), New York ($2.47) and Nevada ($2.46) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.

The price at the pump has inched higher in 48 states, with 33 of these states registering increases of a nickel or more per gallon today compared with one week ago.

Drivers in 42 states are paying higher prices today versus one month ago with the price up by a dime or more in 33 of these states. Twelve states are posting increases of a quarter or more, led by Missouri (+39 cents), Kansas (+36 cents), Illinois (+35 cents) and both Michigan and Oklahoma (+34 cents). Ten states have a lower gas price average today than Oklahoma, according to FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.

At the other end of the spectrum, gasoline prices are lower today than one month ago in eight states, headlined by Hawaii (-31 cents) and Alaska (-22 cents).

Despite recently higher prices, the nation’s motorists overall are still paying less at the pump today than they were on this date in 2014. The average year-over-year price is down by $1.00 or more in 46 states.

 

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