For the first time in months, John Powell was happy to fill up his car with gasoline Friday.
The Moore resident paid $2.97 a gallon to fill up his Toyota Solara.
“I drive a lot. It helps me when the price goes down this much,” said Powell, who lives in Moore and works in Edmond. “It probably saves me on average $10 or $15 a week.”
David Jasinski, also of Moore, expressed a similar sentiment.
“It's been a long time since the price was this low,” he said. “This will save us some cash.”
The statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline slipped to $3.22 Friday, down more than 11 cents over the past week, according to GasBuddy.com. All 15 of the lowest-priced stations in the Oklahoma City area were below $3 a gallon, with many of the lowest prices in the southwest part of the metro.
The average price is down more than 30 cents over the past month and more than 70 cents from May.
Nationwide, the price averaged $3.44 Friday, down seven cents over the past week.
“Both factors that were pushing the price up have disappeared,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. “We were concerned about hurricanes in the Gulf (of Mexico) and unrest in the Middle East. It looks like at least for now that the Syria situation has softened a bit. The resulting anxiety over what might or might not happen has come down.”
Crude oil falls $7 a barrel
As a result, the price of crude oil has slipped more than $7 a barrel over the past week, pulling the price of gasoline down with it.
Gasoline prices also are down in part because refineries are switching to less expensive winter gasoline blends, GasBuddy.com analyst Gregg Laskoski said.
Laskoski said prices are likely to continue downward through the end of the year.
“We have a very healthy supply due to significant increases in domestic production and because of more availability of Canadian crude,” he said.
Laskoski warned, however, that the situation could change quickly.
“The two things we still have to watch for are the ongoing hurricane season and the situation in the Middle East, specifically with Syria,” he said. “If for any reason the president decides to launch a military action, we shouldn't be surprised if we see crude oil prices spike again. When crude prices spike, generally retail gasoline prices follow.”
Hurricane season is generally considered to last until Nov. 30.
“Thankfully, that's been very quiet this year. Nothing is on the horizon,” Laskoski said. “Hopefully it continues that way.”
Local economy may profit
The lower gasoline price could provide a boost to the local economy, Mai said.
“Not only are people inclined to vacation or (go on) weekend getaway trips, but they're also more likely to go out to eat and drive to the mall,” Mai said. “The trickle-down effect could be substantial. It provides a real shot in the arm to all levels of the economy.”
For most segments, anyway.
“I don't suppose the oil producers are very keen on seeing oil prices going down, but for us behind the wheel, it is good news,” Mai said.