Oklahoma’s gasoline prices rang in the New Year by reaching their lowest level in nearly seven years on January 4. The average of $1.748 for self-serve regular is Oklahoma’s least expensive average since hitting $1.728 on Feb. 28, 2009.
“Global supply continues to outpace demand, putting downward pressure on oil prices” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Both West Texas Intermediate and Brent closed out the year posting yearly losses of nearly 30 percent. As a result, the U.S. crude oil rig count dropped by nearly two-thirds over the course of 2015, the largest decline in the last 30 years.”
According to FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com, the January 4th U.S. average gasoline price of $1.990 was the lowest it has been since March 25, 2009. The national average today stands at $1.993; it has fallen for 50 of the past 60 days.
AAA reports market fundamentals are positioned to continue to support lower pump prices in 2016, though averages are likely to increase leading up to the summer driving season as seasonal refinery maintenance gets underway this spring. The auto club says it does not expect the national average to top $3 in 2016, barring unanticipated events that dramatically impact global or domestic supply. In 2015, drivers nationwide paid an annual average of $2.40 per gallon for regular gasoline, the lowest price since 2009.
“A couple of wild cards have been dealt into the deck recently,” said Mai. “Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic ties with Iran and now we hear that Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates apparently are following suit to some extent. Plus, Congress has moved to lift the decades-old U.S. ban on crude oil exports. What impact these events have on prices at the pump remains to be seen.”
WTI closed out trading on the NYMEX January 4th by losing 28 cents, settling at $36.76 per barrel.
Beginning in January, motorists in 34 states were paying averages below $2 per gallon. Missouri ($1.71), South Carolina ($1.74), Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas (all at $1.75), Alabama and Mississippi (both at $1.76) and Kansas ($1.77) were the nation’s least expensive markets for gasoline as January began.
In California, a heavier-than-expected refinery maintenance season last fall combined with unexpected refinery outages has helped maintain that state’s position as the nation’s most expensive state for retail gasoline, recently at $2.87. Drivers in the Golden State are paying an average price that is 19 cents per gallon more than second-place Hawaii ($2.68), which is typically the U.S. leader. Regional neighbors Nevada ($2.52), Alaska ($2.47) and Washington ($2.46) round out the top five most expensive markets.