Tulsa gas prices are up and down

Oklahoma’s statewide price average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $1.91 on April 19, 57 cents above the price on the day before Valentine’s Day of this year but only one cent below the price average one week before Thanksgiving of last year, according to AAA Oklahoma.

“Crude oil has risen a bit,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Not a lot, but some. Plus, demand is up substantially and we’re still weathering the springtime supply-sapping metamorphosis refineries go through each year as they gear down, clean out and ramp back up to produce cleaner-burning summer-grade fuels.”

The average gas price nationwide was $2.11 last week. It has increased seven cents per gallon last week and has risen a total of 41 cents per gallon in the last month. Despite the recent increases, national pump prices are down 33 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year.

The relatively lower price for gasoline is reportedly prompting more drivers to take to the roads, and the U.S. EIA’s weekly estimates on gasoline consumption are approaching levels typical for the summer months.

This increase in driving may put pressure on local gasoline markets and cause prices to move higher if demand outpaces the available supply of gasoline. However, it is likely most drivers will pay the cheapest summertime prices in 12 years.

As largely expected, major oil exporters failed to reach an agreement during the much-anticipated meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries over the weekend. Saudi Arabia maintained its previous position not to participate in a production freeze unless all other countries agreed to do the same, and Iran held fast to its word to opt-out of the plan. Attention now turns to other factors that may help bring the market more into balance, including reports and projections of global crude oil demand and any news from the United States that may also potentially impact prices.

U.S. domestic production fell to a level unseen since September 2014, and the U.S. oil rig count is at its lowest level since November 2009. Speculation is beginning to surface whether U.S. production may soon decline more significantly, and what if anything this may mean for the global oil market’s current oversupply.

Oil is at about $40 per barrel.

The Gulf Coast states of Mississippi ($1.89) and Louisiana ($1.89) are nation’s least expensive markets. Oklahoma is not far behind at $1.91. Prices in 13 states remain below the $2 per gallon benchmark. Drivers on the West Coast are paying some of the nation’s highest averages at the pump, and prices have risen as refineries work to meet growing demand. California ($2.78) and Hawaii ($2.60) lead the market and remain the only two states posting retail averages above $2.50. Nevada ($2.45), Washington ($2.32) and Alaska ($2.31) round out the rankings as the nation’s top five most expensive markets for gasoline.