The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a report last week that higher gasoline prices were due in part to higher “crack spreads,” the difference in price between crude oil and wholesale gasoline. Crude oil prices that rose in December weren't fully passed on to retail gasoline customers at the start of the year.
“Even though pressure on gasoline crack spreads appears to be easing, the short-term outlook for gasoline prices remains volatile,” the report said. “Despite the significant rise in retail gasoline prices since the start of the year, a part of the even steeper rise in wholesale prices has not yet been fully reflected in pump prices.”
AAA's Mai said Oklahoma drivers should be ready for further increases between 15 cents and 20 cents through the spring until all the refinery switchovers have been completed. Gasoline prices typically peak by Memorial Day, but that could come earlier this year.
“Maybe even the peak will come earlier because the transition started earlier this year,” Mai said. “Maybe the peak will come in April or early May and then start to decline once we make that transition successfully.”
It's been on a steady climb ever since mid-January. I think it's been driven by crude oil prices and the perception in the commodities markets that worldwide, and in this country to some extent, we're seeing economies rebound.”
AAA Oklahoma spokesman