Woodward, Okla. —
Nationally and across Oklahoma, the price of regular unleaded fuel has been moving up recently.
But Woodward apparently continues to buck the trend.
Figures reported by AAA Oklahoma this week show Woodward, Ponca City and Guymon as the only cities out of 15 in Oklahoma reporting stable or decreased prices.
The auto club showed Woodward remaining steady at $3.287, the same as last week, and 9.3 cents below a month ago.
The price in Guymon dropped 4.8 cents this week to 3.39 cents per gallon, and that was 11.8 cents lower than in June.
Ponca City decreased 3.6 cents this week, to 3.320 cents. However, that was 2.5 cents higher than June.
Enid stood at 3.352 cents currently, up 3.5 cents from last week, but still 11.3 cents lower than last month.
Oklahoma City came in at 3.299 cents for this week, an increase of 4.6 cents over last week, but that was still 13.5 cents below June's figure.
AAA spokesman Chuck Mai said there are 2 main reasons why prices go up and down, and why they can vary from town to town.
"One is the transportation cost to get the gasoline from the pipeline and refinery to the stations," he said. "Next is the independent competition between brands in the markets."
Mai explained that a station may lower its prices to capture more of a market share, while others may not feel it's (a price reduction) that important.
"We expected prices to come down farther than they have this year," he said. "We're now seeing prices see-sawing, but otherwise, they are trending back up again."
NO REPORT FOR GASBUDDY.COM
The website didn't receive a report this week from Woodward. Gasbuddy's senior petroleum analyst, Patrick DeHann, is not surprised. They receive fewer reports when gas prices are decreasing.
DeHann thinks prices will stay about where they are the remainder of the summer.
He expects the prices to drop more as the summer driving season is left behind and fall and winter approach.
"I am looking for prices to go down between Thanksgiving and Christmas, then, because of the (negative) economy, start to edge back up in January," DeHann said.
IRAN A CONCERN
Both professionals are concerned about what Iran will do now that it has been saddled with additional shipping restrictions by other countries due to its insistence in starting up a nuclear energy program.
In response, Iran has renewed its threat to shut down the strategic Straits of Hormuz, which oil tankers must traverse to ship oil from Iran and the area.
Mai said AAA is concerned for its clients and the general public about a shutdown of the Straits of Hormuz, and what that may do to limit the oil supply and the price of crude. Choking off the oil shipments, which Mai said amounts to about one-third of the seaborne oil supply from Iran and other oil nations, could have a dramatic effect in raising the prices at the pump.
Though some other options are being developed.
"A pipeline to bypass the Straights of Hormuz has just come online," Mai said. "That's a good move."
He said the pipeline, constructed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), runs parallel to the Straits and is well away from Iran.
"The UAE, two weeks ago this Sunday, shipped out its first tanker of oil from the pipeline," he said.
But there is a potential situation involving the system in which the silver lining may have a cloud.
"The pipeline is above-ground," Mai said. "That means it's subject to attack. Not much (of an attack) would be necessary to disrupt the oil flow. "It may take considerable resources to protect the pipeline."