Oklahoma drivers to get little relief from high gasoline prices

by Jay F. Marks Published: April 1, 2012

For much of the past two months, Oklahoma drivers have seen the highest gasoline prices ever for this time of year.

The average price Friday in Oklahoma was $3.721 a gallon, about 23 cents less than the state's record high from July 2008.

Observers don't expect state drivers to get relief from high gasoline prices anytime soon.

“While $4.50 or $5 gas is certainly possible, I don't see it as very likely,” said Russell Evans, executive director of Oklahoma City University's Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute. “I do anticipate gas prices staying elevated near and modestly above current levels at least through the fall and potentially beyond.”

Evans said higher gasoline prices are a byproduct of high crude oil prices.

“High crude oil prices — and hence high gasoline prices — are a blessing and a curse to Oklahoma,” he said. “They are frustrating for consumers and good for producers who are focusing resources on exploration in oil or wet gas fields locally.

“There is some price too high, such that the ‘bad' outweighs the ‘good,' and we just don't know that price.”

Steve Agee, dean of OCU's Meinders College of Business, said gas prices typically drift higher in the summer when school lets out and travel increases.

He expects gasoline in Oklahoma to surpass its record high this summer, possibly reaching as much as $5 a gallon.

Oklahoma is OK

Oklahoma is in better shape than many other states when it comes to rising gasoline prices.

The state's average price has been 15 cents to 20 cents lower than the national average over the past five years, but the difference recently expanded to as much as 30 cents a gallon.

“Here in Oklahoma, we've weathered March's gasoline price hikes better than most states,” AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. “Oklahoma's average is among the six or seven lowest statewide averages in the nation. About a dozen states now have gas price averages above $4 per gallon for self-serve regular.”

Mai said prices will continue to increase in Oklahoma in the coming weeks.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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