Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward residents went back to work this week with unleaded gas averaging approximately 24 cents higher than when they went home Friday. By mid-afternoon on Monday, prices had reached as high as $3.59 a gallon in most places locally.
On Friday, gas was between $3.34 and $3.36 a gallon.
The higher price was reported by observers to oklahomagasprices,com, an affiliate of gasbuddy.com
Patrick DeHaan, gasbuddy.com's senior petroleum analyst, said despite the price rise, the cost in Oklahoma this week was 3.4 cents lower than last year. But it was still 21.8 cents higher than a month ago.
That left the Oklahoma average as of Monday morning at $3.44/gallon, while the national average is $3.60.
DeHann said a government report on a rise in employment may have spurred the price increase.
"When the economy goes up, so do gas prices," he said. "The rise was just due to not a whole lot more than some good news."
However, DeHaan said there may have been some slight influence created by refinery and pipeline difficulties in the Great Lakes region.
"The gas price rose by 33 cents in that area," he said.
One would have thought the country had been struck by a major hurricane, or that war had broken out in the Middle East as possible causes for the increase, DeHaan said.
"Either one of those things could still happen," he added.
A DECREASE COMING?
"We look for the prices to stay about where they are for the next 1 to 2 weeks, and then start to go down some as we approach Labor Day," said DeHaan.
A transition to fall-winter refined fuel formulations and the accompanying end of the summer driving season may also lead to prices starting to fall, said AAA Oklahoma's Vice President-Public Affairs Chuck Mai.
"So much of what happens with oil prices depends on psychological, and not true economic factors," Mai said. "Prices are due for a correction. They're higher than they should be from an economic standpoint."