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Global demand, refinery maintenance cause gasoline prices to rise in Oklahoma

Lower prices to begin the year didn't last long as the average price of gasoline in Oklahoma rose about 50 cents in the past month. AAA Oklahoma expects prices to continue rising as refineries shut down temporarily for maintenance.
by Paul Monies Published: February 26, 2013

A refinery closure on the East Coast also could be affecting supplies in the Midwest, he said. Hess Corp.'s Port Reading, N.J., refinery supplied about 3 percent of the market in the Northeast. To satisfy existing demand, wholesale customers have been buying gasoline from refineries in the Midwest.

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.”

by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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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.”

Chuck Mai,
AAA Oklahoma spokesman


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