Tulsa gas prices not expected to fall soon
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
8/08/12 at 2:49 AM
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Tulsans may be getting some relief from the summer heat, but don't look for a break from higher gasoline prices anytime soon.
The Tulsa average for regular unleaded jumped above $3.50 per gallon on Tuesday for the first time since April 20. QuikTrip Corp. increased its pump price 11 cents overnight to $3.499, the convenience chain's second major bump in a week.
"In July the wholesale cost just skyrocketed," QuikTrip spokesman Michael Thornbrugh said. "Unfortunately, it's the same suspects: refinery issues, the ongoing situation in Europe and the old reliable Mideast tensions."
Wholesale gasoline prices for the Oklahoma market have risen more than 50 cents per gallon in the past two weeks, according to reports. The U.S. Energy Information Administration this week predicted that average retail gasoline costs this year will be 10 cents higher, at $3.49 per gallon, than it previously forecast.
The EIA also projected that domestic crude oil futures will rise $1 to an average $93.90 per barrel for 2012. The Tuesday price for West Texas Intermediate increased $1.47 to settle at $93.67 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The pricing pressures have been intense for retailers this summer, QuikTrip's Thornbrugh said.
"We don't produce it, we don't refine it and we don't transport it," he said. "We're bottom of the food chain, just like everybody else."
The problem is worse in other parts of the country. Some national analysts, such as Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, project that retail gasoline soon will average more than $4 along the West Coast.
The national average currently is above $3.63, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. Oklahoma City was at about $3.48 on Monday, 4 cents over where the Tulsa average stood prior to the QuikTrip move.
A Chevron refinery fire near San Francisco, coupled with supply fears, may push the margin higher in coming weeks. A tropical storm could impact production in Mexico, the third largest oil exporter to the U.S.
"How much will that play into it?" Thornbrugh asked, referring to the influence of outside events on prices.
Regular-grade gasoline in Tulsa has not averaged less than $3 per gallon since late last year. However, the local price is up only 3 percent from Aug. 7, 2011 - from $3.399 to $3.499 per gallon.
Tulsa retail gasoline
Week ago: $3.339
Month ago: $3.099
8 months ago: $2.959
Year ago: $3.399
Original Print Headline: Price of gas not expected to fall soon
Rod Walton 918-581-8457