Paula Linaresfilled up her tank for less than $35 on Friday.
“That means so much to me,” the Oklahoma City resident said. “There have been days where I don't even go out because I don't want to spend the gas. I love it that prices are going back down.”
Oklahoma City resident Gavin Samuels also was pleased with the price drop, but he's not getting too excited about it.
“It's going down now, but it'll just go right back up,” he said.
The statewide average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline settled at $3.27 on Friday, down more than 46 cents over the past month, according to AAA's FuelGaugeReport.com. The price sets Oklahoma with the third-lowest statewide average, just behind Ohio and Missouri.
In Oklahoma City, the price was $3.22 a gallon, down more than 50 cents over the past month. The average price in Tulsa is $3.11, off 53 cents over the past 30 days.
Data from GasBuddy.com showed a similar trend, but even better news for Oklahoma consumers. Motorists have been paying prices below $3 in parts of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Lowest in nation
According to the gas price website, Oklahoma has the lowest price in the country at almost $3.19 a gallon.
Individual station prices in Oklahoma City range from $2.95 to $3.75 a gallon according to GasBuddy and its OklahomaCityGasPrices.com.
The price is following a traditional seasonal pattern by dropping in the fall, said Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy in Tampa, Fla.
“Once you get into October, refiners are able to start producing winter blended gasoline, which has fewer additives and is cheaper to produce,” he said. “That is occurring at a time when typically consumer demand tends to be pretty unremarkable.”
While 96 percent of the country's gas stations have lower gasoline prices than they did one week ago, only about 6 percent of are selling gasoline for less than $3.25 a gallon, and only 23 percent of the country's stations are lower than where they were one year ago, according to GasBuddy data.
In Oklahoma, most stations met all three of those marks, Laskoski said.
Prices are dropping faster now because the traditional October price decline was delayed by market fear, said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.
“The price at the pump is coming more in line to where it should have been ordinarily,” Mai said. “The recent price run-up we saw over the past few months didn't have any basis in market conditions. It was more based on speculation and fear because of Iran and Israel and Turkey and other factors that never materialized as a threat to supplies.
“Those things can all change day-by-day, but right now, everything is in place for prices to continue to edge down through the end of the year.”
There is, however, one large potential threat looming in the Caribbean. Hurricane Sandy is aiming for the eastern seaboard and could threaten refineries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“That could be a factor if it hits the mid-Atlantic region,” Laskoski said. “A lot of those refineries will probably shut down for safety reasons as the storm approaches. There could be a fairly tight supply within the next 72 hours in parts of the Atlantic, but I don't think this is going to be something to have a long-term impact on gasoline prices.”
While the price of gasoline has dropped over the past month, not everyone is happy.
Jesse Staley drives a 2002 Volkswagen Jetta that runs on diesel.
He filled up for $3.85 a gallon Friday at a Murphy USA station that was selling regular unleaded gasoline for $2.95.
“When I bought this car, diesel was $1.15 a gallon. Now it's almost $1 more than gasoline,” he said.
The statewide average price for diesel was $3.98 a gallon, up four cents over the past month.
“Typically demand does not fluctuate with diesel because it is mostly used by 18-wheelers, which don't have a demand season or an off season,” Mai said. “Diesel also uses a more expensive, low-sulfur formulation the EPA rolled out about a year ago.”