Gasoline prices pop back up above $2
Ponca City Now - February 10, 2015 12:45 pm
After dwelling below $2.00 for 46 days, Oklahoma’s average price for self-serve regular gasoline popped back above that threshold last Sunday and now stands at $2.03 per gallon, gaining 24 cents over the last three weeks.
“West Texas Intermediate has jumped $8.41 since hitting $44.45 per barrel on Jan. 28. That is what’s driving this train,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Another influencer is the supply of gasoline, which has tightened somewhat lately as refineries ramp down to do their spring dance of converting to the production of summer-grade fuels.”
According to FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com, five states have statewide gas price averages below $2.00 per gallon today, 20 fewer than one week ago. The five are Idaho ($1.89), Utah ($1.92), Montana ($1.93), South Carolina ($1.98) and Wyoming ($1.99).
Week-over-week prices are higher in 48 states with motorists in 32 states – including Oklahoma – paying a dime or more per gallon.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has increased every day for two weeks for a total of 16 cents per gallon. Gas prices had previously dropped for a record 123 consecutive days before beginning to rise again on January 27. Today’s price of $2.19 per gallon is 12 cents more than one week ago and four cents more than one month ago. While prices have moved higher recently, the national average remains significantly below the price one year ago when U.S. motorists were paying $1.10 more per gallon on average to refuel their vehicles.
There is additional market uncertainty this week because approximately 5,200 members of the United Steelworkers union have walked off their jobs at refineries and chemical plants responsible for processing more than 10 percent of U.S. petroleum products. While this is the first nationwide strike at U.S. oil refineries since 1980, the work stoppage is not expected to have a significant impact on production in the short-term because refineries continue to operate. News of the strike has reportedly led to higher wholesale gasoline prices.
An oversupplied global market is expected to keep the price of crude relatively low for at least the first half of 2015. Nonetheless, the global market’s overall volatility is at a six-year high and prices have seesawed, often daily, in response to a number of factors that are putting pressure on the balance between supply and demand. High-cost production countries, such as the United States, continue to reassess their overall production goals. Plus, Saudi Arabia is currently maneuvering to protect its market share by adjusting prices to various countries, including Asia and the U.S.