Gasoline jumps to nearly $3.50 a gallon in Tulsa
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 5:15 AM
Gasoline in Tulsa has jumped to almost $3.50 per gallon for the first time since early autumn.
QuikTrip stations increased the price of regular unleaded about 12 cents late Wednesday and Thursday to $3.49 per gallon. The new pump price was QuikTrip's highest since around Oct. 1.
Michael Thornbrugh, a spokesman for the Tulsa-based convenience store chain, cited the persistent rise in wholesale market prices. Regional suppliers have increased the average price by 50 cents in the last 30 days, to $3 per gallon not including tax, according to surveys by Bloomberg News.
"I'm not surprised," Thornbrugh said. "The wholesale market continues to skyrocket. I don't see anything in the near future to change that."
Refineries already are beginning to shift into "turnarounds" in which they start producing more expensive, environmentally friendly summer blends of gasoline.
Nationwide, the average retail gasoline price was $3.63 per gallon on Thursday, the highest ever for this time of year, according to the Associated Press. The average has risen every day since Jan. 18.
"The bottom line is that QuikTrip customers hate it and we hate it," Thornbrugh said.
Meanwhile, truckers are paying almost $4 per gallon for diesel fuel. The QuikTrip price for diesel increased 10 cents Thursday to $3.89 per gallon, while some stations were charging $3.99.
Mark Helterbrand, an operations dispatcher for Sooner Freight Forwarders in Tulsa, said the price usually goes up this time of year but not by this much.
The pain, however, is mainly felt at the consumer level in the form of higher prices for food and other goods.
"It's mainly a pass-through cost for us," Helterbrand said. "But it's like anything - it eventually affects everybody."
Motorists probably shouldn't expect a fallback soon, since West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 30 cents Thursday to close at $97.31 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Some analysts blamed the rise in oil prices on a lack of progress in nuclear talks with Iran, as well as good economic news that fewer Americans than expected filed claims for unemployment benefits last week. A healthier economy means more demand for fuel - and higher costs.
Tulsa gasoline price*
Dollars per gallon
*Common observed price for regular unleaded.
- Thursday: $3.49
- Tuesday: $3.36
- Month ago: $2.83
- Year ago: $3.23
- Record high: $3.93**
**On July 18, 2008.
Sources: Tulsa World staff
Original Print Headline: Gas jumps to nearly $3.50 a gallon
Rod Walton 918-581-8457
Gasoline prices are posted Thursday outside the QuikTrip store at Peoria Avenue and Interstate 44. The prices were the highest in more than four months. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World