Gasoline prices on the rise in Tulsa
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1/30/13 at 3:58 AM
Tulsa and Oklahoma suddenly have lost their places among the nation's cheapest places to buy gasoline.
Pump prices have risen about 35 cents in the past three weeks at Tulsa stations. QuikTrip stores, the city's largest chain, were selling regular unleaded for $3.19 per gallon Tuesday, up 10 cents from the start of the week.
That $3.19 is also the statewide average, putting Oklahoma behind 10 other states for low fuel costs, according to AAA. Not bad, but Oklahoma is usually somewhere in the top five among the least expensive gas retailers.
"We're no longer bargain basement," AAA-Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said. "It's a crazy scenario right now."
In fact, retail gasoline prices and crude oil futures are jumping upward at a time when many forecasters previously thought they'd be falling. The refinery maintenance turnaround season is just a few months ahead, so the upward trajectory of fuel costs may stick around a while.
"That's a great way to ruffle the feathers of motorists," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. "I think prices may go up the next week or two, then I think it may settle down for a brief rest before refinery turnarounds into late March and April.
Refineries make springtime changes to produce "summer-grade" gasoline blends to meet federal environmental rules. Currently, some refineries have had problems in Illinois, New Mexico and Texas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that nationwide refinery utilization rates dropped to 83.6 percent for the week ending Jan. 18, down from 91.5 percent only one month earlier. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery gained $1.13, or 1.2 percent, to $97.57 a barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Sept. 14.
"The Dow is healthy and all of this is pushing the price of crude, which is consequently reflected at the pump," Mai noted. "I think there's some concern with the debate in Washington coming up on the debt ceiling, so it may be one step forward, two steps back for a while."
The 10 states ahead of Oklahoma for lower gasoline prices are Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Idaho, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee. The Tulsa average was around $3.15, according to AAA, although that figure did not reflect Tuesday's 10-cent hike.
The Oklahoma City average was about $3.20 per gallon.
Original Print Headline: Gasoline prices stage January jump
Rod Walton 918-581-8457