Gas prices have dropped slowly on the week. Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.39, a three cents drop from one week ago; however, it is an increase of seven cents over last month and 18 cents more than this time last year.
“One year ago, the country was experiencing higher consumer demand and prices were increasing,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Fast forward to today, consumers are still experiencing higher gas prices over last year due to the OPEC agreement, but we are not seeing substantial increases at the pump due to increased gasoline inventories and low demand across the country.”
The Oklahoma pump price average has fallen for seven consecutive days and is down a dime from its 2017 high of $2.20 recorded on April 14.
Current Price Averages per Gallon of Regular Gasoline
- Tulsa – $2.04, unchanged from one month ago … up 13 cents since 5/1/16
- OKC – $2.06, down 5 cents from one month ago … up 10 cents since 5/1/16
- Oklahoma – $2.10, unchanged from one month ago … up 14 cents since 5/1/16
- S. – $2.39, up 7 cents from one month ago … up 18 cents since 5/1/16
- The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: South Carolina ($2.09), Oklahoma $2.10), Mississippi ($2.15), Tennessee ($2.15), Arkansas ($2.15), Alabama ($2.16), Missouri ($2.18), Louisiana ($2.18), Virginia ($2.20) and Kansas ($2.22).
- The nation’s top ten markets with the largest weekly decreases include: Indiana (- 13 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Kentucky (-7 cents), Illinois (-6 cents), Oklahoma (-5 cents), Delaware (-4 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Kansas (-4 cents) and Wisconsin (-4 cents).
Global Market Dynamics
At the close of trading Friday, April 28, on the NYMEX, WTI increased 36 cents to settle at $49.33. The below $50 price per barrel can be partly attributed to increasing crude oil stocks. According to energy services company Baker Hughes, the U.S. added nine oil rigs last week, putting the total at 697 – the largest number of rigs since April 2015. Increased production from the U.S. comes ahead of talks to extend a production cut agreement from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which is scheduled to end on June 30. The countries in the agreement will meet on May 25 in Vienna, Austria to discuss whether to end or extend the supply reduction.
There is reason to believe that continued low oil prices are reducing global investment in oil exploration, which could lead to tighter supplies moving forward. Last week, the International Energy Agency released information that revealed global oil discoveries fell to a record low in 2016, as companies continued to cut spending and conventional oil projects were at their lowest level in 70 years.
Deepwater offshore exploration, which accounts for almost a third of crude oil production and is a crucial component of future global supplies, has been particularly hard hit by the industry’s slowdown. In 2016, only 13 percent of all drilling of conventional resources was offshore, compared with more than 40 on average between 2000 and 2015. This reduction could lead to higher prices per barrel, assuming demand continues to grow and the market experiences further constrained crude stocks.
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