Gasoline prices are rising again after several weeks of stability at the start of the year.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in Oklahoma City was $3.11 early Friday, up from $2.98 a week ago, according to AAA Oklahoma. Prices were lower in Tulsa, with the average price at $3.05 on Friday. That's compared to $2.93 last week.
Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa's average prices were in line with where they were a year ago, when it was $3.11 per gallon in Oklahoma City and $3.05 in Tulsa.
A check of several northwest Oklahoma City gas stations Friday afternoon showed gasoline continuing to rise, with prices ranging from $3.20 to $3.37 for a gallon of regular gas.
Much of this week's increase can be traced to the rising price of crude oil, said Chuck Mai with AAA Oklahoma. Since late last year, the price of gasoline fell even as crude oil rose. Now they appear to be back to the historical norm of rising together.
“It has been a roller coaster, and now we're climbing the hill again,” Mai said. “It appears the main driving force is crude oil. It's been rising quite a bit here as of late.”
Mai said part of the increase in crude oil has been positive indicators of growth in China, which would increase global demand for the commodity.
AAA's weekly survey of gas prices across Oklahoma showed a similar trend in price increases outside the largest metros. The report, issued Tuesday, ranged from a low of $3.01 in Muskogee to a high of $3.17 in Idabel.
Despite recently rising prices, AAA expects motorists will pay less on average in 2013 than they did last year, mostly because demand hasn't rebounded as fast as expected in the wake of the recession.
Drivers paid an average of $3.60 per gallon in 2012, exceeding the previous average high of $3.51 in 2011, AAA said.
“However, despite record pump prices, 2012 was not the most expensive year for motorists, as demand destruction due to a still-weak U.S. economy and increases in fuel economy offset the higher price per gallon,” AAA said.
The average household consuming 1,140 gallons of gasoline paid $4,112 in 2012, according to AAA data. That's down slightly from an average of $4,127 a year earlier, when the typical household used 1,174 gallons of gasoline.
“We're spending a little bit less for fuel even though the price is higher because we're using less of it,” Mai said.