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Local gas prices near state average

POSTED October 12, 2011 8:36 a.m.

In the past week, the average retail gasoline prices in Kansas have risen 0.3 cents per gallon to an average of $3.26 per gallon as of Sunday. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.42, according to gasoline price website KansasGasPrices.com.
As the holidays approach, Patrick DeHann, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst, said pump prices should stay within 25 cents either way of where they are now through the end of the year. “I don’t expect any spikes.”
Including the change in gas prices in Kansas during the past week, prices this weekend were 54.7 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 33.3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 24.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 61.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
According to kansasgasprices.com, the cheapest gas in the state was at a Dillons in Junction City at $2.95. The highest was at a Cenex station in Oberlin at $3.54.
Locally, prices have fallen and now hover around $3.20, a shade below the state average.
“After oil prices briefly dropped to $75 per barrel in the last two weeks, we’ve seen a mini-rally take place, driving prices up to a more recent mark of $82,” said Patrick DeHann, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst. “The volatility we continue to see in oil prices isn’t surprising, and will likely continue as a fragile economy and some upbeat investors play the market.”
What this means for motorists is a continued roller coaster ride at the gas pump, he said. “While I don’t expect a huge of movement in either direction, these up and down fluctuations in gas prices will become the norm ahead of a volatile Spring 2012 time period,” DeHaan said.
‘This is all good, old-fashioned competition,” he said of the fluctuations from place to place. “There seem to be pockets of fierce competitiveness.” The parts of the state with the lower prices at one time will have the higher prices at another time.
Gas retailers can expect to make an average profit of a dime or less per gallon, mostly less. Some dealers can opt to cut a penny of their price if they believe they can sell more fuel.
But, “there are a lot of wild cards,” DeHaan said. Prices can very depending on when a dealer bought gas, the price of oil and the zone-pricing actions taken by the oil companies.
And then there is the United States economy in general. DeHaan said when the economic outlook is gloomy, oil prices (and gas prices) fall. But, when there are signs of hope, prices climb.
DeHaan said it is not uncommon for gas prices to remain consistent from station to station within a community and it probably not the work of some conspiracy. “There could be an unwritten rule that they won’t undercut each other.”

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