Gasoline prices decline

Ponca City Now - March 11, 2015 3:06 pm

The Oklahoma average price of self-serve regular gasoline fell last Sunday for the first time since Jan. 26, marking 40 straight days of price increases, the longest streak of daily price increases since 2011. During this period, average gas prices increased 52 cents per gallon, but have fallen by a half cent since Saturday.

“It’s risky to draw any hard and fast conclusions from just three or four days of data, but it appears the spring price spikes have taken a breather,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “The Oklahoma City average has dropped nearly two cents since last Friday and Tulsa’s citywide average is down a bit more than one cent. However, it’s interesting to note that while it’s down since Saturday, the Oklahoma price average actually increased two-tenths of a cent overnight.”

Traditionally one of the nation’s cheapest gasoline markets, Oklahoma has relinquished that title in recent weeks. Today, 21 states have statewide gas price averages below that of Oklahoma, according to FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.16), Wyoming ($2.17) and Alabama and Montana (both at $2.21) are paying the least per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

Mimicking Oklahoma, the national average price of regular gasoline also fell Sunday for the first time after 40 days of daily jumps. During this period, the nationwide price increased 43 cents per gallon, but has fallen a penny since Saturday. While today’s price of $2.45 per gallon is one cent more than one week ago and 26 cents more than one month ago, pump prices continue to reflect a substantial yearly savings for the motorist. The national average stood at $3.49 on March 10 of last year, $1.04 more than today’s price.

Retail gas prices typically tend to trend higher this time of year as refineries undergo maintenance and reduce stockpiles of winter-grade fuel in preparation for the changeover to summer-grade gasoline, which is more costly to produce.

The West Coast is the most expensive region for retail gasoline today due to unexpected refinery problems. Plus, environmental regulations in California require the state to sell specialized blends of gasoline, which limits the state’s ability to substitute fuel from neighboring markets to overcome supply shortages. California, at $3.43, has the country’s most expensive fuel today, followed by Hawaii, $3.14; Alaska, $2.92; and Oregon and Nevada, both at $2.88.

The global price of crude oil remains volatile due to speculations about possible production cuts due to oversupply and news of rising global demand. Without intervention from OPEC, global prices are expected to continue to fluctuate as markets attempt to find a level. U.S. production continues to hit record levels, and according to the EIA’s most recent report, stockpiles have climbed to their highest weekly levels since the energy agency started collecting statistical data on the subject in 1982.

At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI closed up 39 cents, settling at $50.00 per barrel.

 

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