Oklahoma gas prices surge above national average

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Oklahoma City has jumped at least 34 cents over the past month while the national average has added less than a dime.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: May 16, 2013

Surging gasoline prices have worn down college student Amy Dominguez's budget.

“Traveling from college to work is hard to manage with higher gasoline prices,” she said. “$40 doesn't fill up my tank anymore.”

Dominguez has felt the difference as the price for a gallon of gasoline in Oklahoma City has surged at least 34 cents over the past month.

“That's almost $5 a week more than I have to pay,” she said. “That adds up.”

Dominguez works near downtown and attends college at both the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and Oklahoma City Community College in south Oklahoma City.

Gasoline prices usually increase this time of year as refineries shut down temporarily to convert so they can produce cleaner-burning, summer-blend gasoline. That increase tends to be fairly uniform nationwide.

This month's run-up, however, has been sharp and regional, with prices spiking in Oklahoma and other mostly Plains states.

Oklahomans typically enjoy some of the lowest-priced gasoline in the country, with a statewide average that usually ranks among the five lowest states.

For the first time in more than five years, however, Oklahoma's statewide average price is above the national average, with 29 states recording lower statewide average prices.

“It's a little bit of a puzzle,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. “From what we can determine, it's related to the rising price of crude and tight supplies due to refineries going through maintenance procedures. Apparently it's confined just to certain portions of the country.”

Oklahoma's average gasoline price last topped the national average in September 2007.

Mai said it is unusual because he knows of no problems at Oklahoma refineries.

“It's something I really can't explain,” he said.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Gasbuddy.com, attributes the price rise in Oklahoma to the movement of gasoline from local refineries to help with shortages in Great Lakes area.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Oklahoma City topped $3.65 on Wednesday, up 34 cents over the past month from nearly $3.32, according to AAA. At the same time, the national average price has added almost seven cents to nearly $3.59.

The trend has been even stronger according to numbers provided by GasBuddy. The national gasoline price analyst showed the Oklahoma City average at $3.79 on Wednesday, up 50 cents from $3.29 one month ago. Nationwide, the average edged up to nearly $3.61, up 9 cents from $3.52 one month ago.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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