The Edmond Sun

May 25, 2013

Okla. sees gas price record just before holiday

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

OKLA. CITY — Oklahoma City has seen an all-time high price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline — just in time for one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

The first three-day weekend of the summer has arrived and according to AAA, Oklahomans will be “driving” their way into summer. The Memorial Day holiday commemorates those who have died in service to the nation, while also serving as the unofficial kickoff of the summer season.

According to AAA Oklahoma’s Memorial Day travel forecast, 611,500 Oklahomans are expected to travel over Memorial Day, representing an increase of 0.9 percent from last year. Nationwide, 34.8 million Americans are predicted to travel, a decrease of 0.9 percent from 2012.

“Memorial Day travel is a mixed bag this year,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Travel. “A decline in air travel has pulled overall travel down below year-ago levels, but auto travel remains strong. This is consistent with patterns seen by AAA Travel agents and counselors.”

Historically, prices at the pump rise during the weeks leading up to Memorial Day.

On Sunday, AAA Oklahoma reported that according to its gas price-tracking site the average price in Oklahoma City for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline was at its highest point ever, $3.963, breaking the previous day’s price of $3.952, which was also a record high. On Monday, a new record high average — $3.96 — was set.

The previous all-time high was set on July 16, 2008, when Oklahoma City’s price average hit $3.909.

“The good news for the Oklahoma City motorist in all this, if there is any, is that it appears over the last eight hours, gas prices have dropped just a bit,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Whether this is a trend or just a blip is anybody’s guess.”

Oklahoma’s statewide average continues to inch upward, now at $3.904 but the Tulsa average actually dropped three-tenths of a cent overnight to $3.846 Wednesday morning, Mai said.

The state’s all-time high of $3.955 was set on July 16, 2008. Tulsa’s record high was also set that day: $3.927.

“It appears at least part of the reason for these breathtaking price spikes is limited gas supplies caused by a couple of refineries in the upper Midwest going off-line,” Mai said.

However, the shortages have only impacted selected locations, Mai said. For example, the average price for regular gasoline in Texas Wednesday was $3.43 at the time, 47 cents below that of Oklahoma. Arkansas’ average was 48 cents below Oklahoma’s. | 341-2121 ext. 108