Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 16, 2013

Lower demand means lower fuel costs

TAHLEQUAH — Watching the price of gasoline change at the fuel pump can sometimes feel like watching a slot machine spinning in search of the right combination. As soon as a favorable price pops up, it disappears just as quickly as it arrived.

Several factors influence the price of fuel, and customers often pay a price that has been influenced by political opinions, the weather, and even the stock market, said AAA Oklahoma spokesman Chuck Mai, who has worked for the motor club and leisure travel organization for 26 years.

Twenty or 30 years ago, there was a simpler way of monitoring the factors that influenced the price of fuel, but that changed when the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Prince William Sound, Alaska took place on March 24, 1989, Mai said.

“That was really the turning point in factors that influence gasoline prices. Today, there are probably 20 different major elements that go into why the price is what it is on any given day,” said Mai. “Whether Nigerian oil workers are going on strike. Whether there are refinery problems in this country. Are there pipeline problems created by weather in terms of a hurricane? What [the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] is doing or not doing. Russia plays a role. Venezuela is a major producer. What [President Hugo] Chavez’s opinion of the U.S. is, and whether or not he wants to turn the screws. There are literally 20 to 25 things each day, and maybe not the same things every day. Seasonal demand, yeah, it plays a role, but it’s probably eight or nine down the list of influencing factors.”

A recent AAA Oklahoma press release predicted customers will feel “less pain at the pump in 2013.” As of Jan. 8, the national average price of a gallon of gas was $3.30, while the nationwide average was $3.22 on Dec. 20, 2012. The average price of fuel in Oklahoma was at $2.988 as of Jan. 8, which factored in a 1.3 cent raise in price the day before as a result of prices jumping 8 cents overnight to $2.912 in the Tulsa market. Oklahoma City’s price averages had fallen two-tenths of a cent during that period. The prices change daily and by way of a different recipe of price factors, said Mai.

“[The price is set by a] different formula every day, and a large part of it is the strength of the U.S. economy,” Mai said. “The strength and weakness of the U.S. dollar plays a role. It’s a global economy and everything is tied to everything else. Oil right now is a commodity that is traded on the world market, just like soy beans and corn and gold and any other commodity.”

Tahlequah Phillips 66 store owner Glen Elliott said his Clear Creek store on east Allen Road didn’t turn on profit on fuel sales last year, and customers should feel rest assured he is not gouging prices to produce numbers in the black.

“Literally at this store, I broke even this year. I didn’t make a penny off of fuel,” he said. “I price my fuel to try to break even if someone uses a credit card. My credit card fees are 3 percent, and to mark my fuel up 3 percent is tough to do. If you have enough cash customers, you can make some money on gas, but you have to price it to break even on your credit card fees.”

According to the AAA Oklahoma report, gasoline prices this year are expected to be lower than a year ago because of increased domestic oil production and because customers made fewer trips to the pump. The national average cost of gas should peak at $3.60 to $3.80 per gallon this year, pending no major natural disasters or events take impact the sales of crude oil.

The gasoline Elliott buys for his stores – which include Speedys 66 stores near Welling and Fort Gibson – comes from the Tulsa pipeline, which is fed out of states that border the Gulf of Mexico.

“Now you’ve got the refinery up in Ponca City, but most of my fuel comes from the gulf states, which comes into Tulsa,” he said. “You’ve got the Glenpool pipeline, and there’s the Tulsa pipeline, which comes up out of the gulf states. If a hurricane hit and they have to shut those refineries down, suddenly there’s a shortage of fuel, and the price is going to spike. Unfortunately, the fuel price also goes up and down in the stock market. You can watch the stock market every day, and if you see it shoot up, gas is going up with it.”

Though prices fluctuate, the demand for fuel is down right now, and that has a positive influence on the price, said Mai.

“We’re buying more fuel-efficient vehicles. There is a small increase in the number of alternative fuel vehicles, and I think another major element is the fact that Oklahoma, and Americans really, have learned how to conserve fuel,” Mai said. “People have realized they can, in many cases, cut their fuel bill by how they drive and how well they maintain their vehicles.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • rf-poker-run-main.jpg Poker run

    Fundraiser was in the cards for local philanthropic group

    It was perfect weather, with temperatures in the high 80s Saturday, as boaters filled their vessels with friends for a fun afternoon on Lake Tenkiller. A crowd gathered at Cookson Bend Marina, and folks lined up to support a local charity event.
    As fundraisers go, the Beta Sigma Phi Mu Omega Poker Run last Saturday could be considered huge success, as nearly $9,000 was collected.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • bilbrey-anthony.jpg Man arrested for blackmailing woman for sex

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies put a man behind bars Monday night after he allegedly tried to blackmail a woman by threatening to post nude photos of her on the Internet if she did not meet him for sex.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peach_photo_2.jpg Peach crop lean, but fruit still available

    Summer is all about peaches in Porter – especially at Livesay Orchard.
    The Livesay Orchard is still busy a week after Porter’s annual peach festival. The orchard’s crop this year was cut in half from what had previously been expected, according to Kent Livesay, one of the owners of the orchard.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • jackson-jaymee.jpg Tot’s injuries prompt abuse charges for two local residents

    A Tahlequah couple was formally charged Tuesday with child neglect and child abuse after an 18-month-old girl was found with a number of injuries.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • proctor-micah.jpg Pair accused of threatening man

    Two men behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center are accused of wielding a knife and gun and assaulting a man at a trailer park on West Keetoowah Sunday afternoon.
    Tahlequah Officer Reed Felts spoke with Reinaldo Flores, who told officers he heard a knock on his door and went to answer it.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Reach Higher an innovative approach to college

    The “Reach Higher” degree completion program is helping many Oklahoma students go back to school without drastically changing their lives.
    “This program is designed for working adults,” said Tim McElroy, program coordinator at the NSU- Muskogee campus.

    July 30, 2014

  • City attorney, others questioned chamber use of tourism tax

    Letters written in 2006 by City Attorney Park Medearis to former city councilor and Tahlequah Area Tourism Council board member Jack Spears suggest money from a hotel-motel tax could be disbursed through an agent other than the Chamber of Commerce, without voter approval.

    July 30, 2014

  • Hulbert council discusses Internet service

    During a meeting Tuesday night, members of the Hulbert Town Council discussed the possibility of Lake Region Electric Cooperative’s extending its cable and Internet service.

    July 30, 2014

  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Stocks