Prices for a gallon of gasoline are expected to increase 10-20 more cents this spring before falling after Memorial Day, the auto club AAA reports.
Thursday afternoon, gasoline prices in the city varied depending on location and company. A gallon of regular unleaded was selling at $3.29 at the Shell located at Edmond Road and Fretz. A few blocks to the west, at Edmond Road and Kelly, unleaded E-10 was selling for $3.37 a gallon at Valero; unleaded 100 percent gas was selling for $3.64 a gallon.
AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai said gas prices are predicted to continue to rise in the coming weeks due to seasonal refinery maintenance and possible geopolitical threats to global oil supplies.
However, the national price at the pump is unlikely to surpass last year’s high of $3.79 recorded on Feb. 27, the earliest pre-summer peak price on record, Mai said.
“AAA expects Oklahoma’s as well as national price averages to increase 10-20 cents more this spring before falling after Memorial Day, barring any unexpected market-moving events,” Mai said. “What’s happening now in the Ukraine could constitute such an event should global oil supplies be impacted.”
At 10.4 million barrels per day, Russia is the third-largest oil-producing country after Saudi Arabia (11.7 million barrels per day) and the United States (11.1 million barrels per day), according to the most recent Energy Information Administration data.
Rapidly escalating tensions in the Ukraine, including reports that Russia has sent troops into the Crimean peninsula, have been the major story for the oil markets this week.
At the close of Monday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude settled up $2.33 at $104.92 per barrel, the highest settlement price since mid-September of last year.
Mai said although there have been no disruptions to global supplies yet, any further escalation of hostilities could propel global oil prices higher, which has the potential to magnify the seasonal price increases at the pump.
On Thursday, the national average price for a gallon of regular was $3.474; a month earlier it was $3.274.
On Tuesday, the statewide gasoline price average was $3.33 per gallon for regular self-serve, 22.5 cents above where it stood a month ago, according to www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com, but 24 cents below the price 30 days earlier.
The last time the state’s average was higher was Sept. 24, 2013.
February ended with the largest increase in gasoline prices since July with the Oklahoma average rising a bit more than 22 cents and the national average up about 17 cents per gallon over the course of the month.
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