Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gasoline Margins Narrow

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Gasoline Margins Narrow

Article excerpt

Memorial Day holiday travelers will see price increases at the fuel pumps in Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma City office of the American Automotive Association. However, the association said these prices are down compared with last year.

The Oklahoma average price of self-serve regular unleaded gasoline is $1.01 per gallon, down 6 cents compared with last year but up 5 cents compared with Easter 1994, according to the automotive association. The national fuel price for self-serve regular unleaded is $1.10 per gallon, 2.7 cents lower than a year ago.

"Dollar for dollar, considering inflation, it's probably the cheapest gas has ever been in Oklahoma," said Rick Bickford, the association's director of public and government relations.

Right now, Oklahoma fuel marketers are experiencing the cheapest margins in 10 years, according to Elmer Smith, president of the Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers Association and Elmer Smith Oil Co. in Clinton.

"Jobbers probably have had the worst first quarter in 1994 with margins being lower than I can remember," Smith said. "At the same time, refiners' margins have been much better, and major oil companies are showing double the profits compared with 1993."

Jim Gillett, director of downstream government relations for Phillips Petroleum Co. of Bartlesville, said "both prices and margins, no matter which sector (refiners or marketers), is determined by the marketplace and by competitors in the marketplace."

"Those different sectors of industry don't always run in tandem," Gillett said. "One may be up at one point, while the other one is down due to rising feed stock prices or what competitors are selling for."

Gillett said crude oil prices are an important factor, but the primary determination is seeing what competitors' products are selling for in a particular marketplace.

Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude for July delivery settled at $17. …

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