Falling oil prices hurt states, help consumers

Byron Beers | Daily Press

Kevin Martin fills up on gas Wednesday, March 25 at Super Mart in Tahlequah.

Gasoline and diesel prices continue to plummet around Tahlequah, with the ongoing threat of COVID-19 partly to blame.

Hit & Run was the bottom end in the city March 25, with a price of $1.61 per gallon for regular unleaded and $2.24 per gallon for diesel.

Prices are expected to continue their rapid fall. Hit & Run has dropped its prices an estimated 40 cents over the past two weeks.

“The last two weeks, we’ve dropped 40 cents,” said Andy Bhandari, an employee at Hit & Run. “By Friday, we expect to drop another 10 to 15 cents and could be as low as $1.49.”

COVID-19, and the market's uncertainty in response to it, isn't the only reason for the price drop. Earlier this month, a breakdown in talks between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries started the fall. Saudia Arabia wound up cutting its oil prices, setting off a price war and pushing down U.S. crude prices by more than 25 percent.

In Oklahoma, where legislators base the state budget on robust oil prices, trouble could be on the horizon – again. Lower prices will be bad for the state, but good for the consumer.

E-Z Mart is currently at $1.69 per gallon, Casey’s is at $1.71 for unleaded and $2.28 diesel, and Super Mart is at $1.72 and $2.29.

On a national average, prices have fallen 12.8 cents over the past week to $2.08 per gallon, according to GasBuddy data, which has been compiled from more than 11 million individual reports covering 150,000 gas stations across the country. Diesel prices have fallen 6.5 cents on average to $2.66 per gallon.

Nationally, more than one in four gas stations are at $1.99 per gallon. The average cost of the lowest 10 percent is $1.59 per gallon. The median U.S. price is at $1.97, which is down 16 cents in the past week.

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