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Pump prices spike after Saudi attack
Increase could be as high as a quarter by month’s end
gas prices - saudi attack pic

This week’s gas price quick stats from AAA and Gasbuddy

• The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+13 cents), Michigan (-9 cents), Delaware (+9 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), New Mexico (+5 cents), Georgia (+4 cents), Colorado (+4 cents), Utah (-3 cents), Oklahoma (+3 cents) and Louisiana (+3 cents).

• The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.18), Louisiana ($2.20), Alabama ($2.22), South Carolina ($2.22), Arkansas ($2.24), Texas ($2.26), Tennessee ($2.27), Oklahoma ($2.28), Virginia ($2.28) and Missouri ($2.29). 

Historical gasoline prices in Kansas and the national average going back a decade:

• Sept. 16, 2018: $2.64 (U.S. Average: $2.84)

• Sept. 16, 2017: $2.38 (U.S. Average: $2.61)

• Sept. 16, 2016: $2.08 (U.S. Average: $2.19)

• Sept. 16, 2015: $2.18 (U.S. Average: $2.30)

• Sept. 16, 2014: $3.24 (U.S. Average: $3.37)

• Sept. 16, 2013: $3.53 (U.S. Average: $3.50)

• Sept. 16, 2012: $3.83 (U.S. Average: $3.86)

• Sept. 16, 2011: $3.56 (U.S. Average: $3.60)

• Sept. 16, 2010: $2.70 (U.S. Average: $2.73)

• Sept. 16, 2009: $2.39 (U.S. Average: $2.53)

On the week, the national gas price average held steady at $2.56, with the Kansas average rising almost nine cents to $2.41 per gallon, but motorists can expect volatility at the pump in the coming days and weeks, AAA is reporting. 

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia experienced drone attacks on two major oil facilities – including the world’s largest, Abqaiq. The attacks have taken 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day off the market, accounting for about 6% of the global supply.

The hike was felt locally as prices jumped to $2.46 as of Thursday, topping the state average. Around the area, prices were $2.32 at Lyons, $2.36 at Hays and $2.30 at Pratt. 

The lowest price in the state was reported at Rose Hill in Butler County with $2.15, and the highest at Howard in Elk County with $2.89. 

Prior to the attacks, global crude oil supply was very healthy, in fact sitting on a global glut of stocks, according to AAA. Regardless, initial market reaction to the attacks spiked crude oil prices. At the start of the work week, crude oil (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) is trading for $5 per barrel more than on Friday’s closing, up to $61 – a price point for crude not seen since May.

 “Kansans and motorists across America can expect local pump prices to start to increase. The jump could end up being as much as a quarter per gallon throughout this month,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesperson. “Whether this is a short or long term trend will be determined by the price of crude oil prices and how quickly the facilities in Saudi Arabia can recover and get back online.”

 Damage to the facilities is still being assessed, but there is no word if it will be days, weeks or even months before infrastructure is repaired. The kingdom reported midweek that half the lost production had been restored.

To ease concerns, President Donald Trump said he has authorized the release of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Other Saudi-oil-consuming countries also have emergency reserves to help back-fill the global loss, if needed.

Notably, the U.S. currently depends less on crude imports from Saudi Arabia, according to the latest Energy Information Administration report. The EIA information showed the U.S. imported the least amount of crude oil from Saudi this decade. 

In the first half of this year, on average the U.S. imported about 18,000 barrels compared to 35,600 in the first half of 2017.

While U.S. gasoline stock levels have been decreasing the past few weeks, total domestic stocks sit at 228 million barrels, which is ahead of the five-year average for this time of year by several million, the EIA reported. 

“While gas prices have drifted lower for the ninth straight week, all eyes now turn to Saudi Arabia after an attack that knocked out over 5% of global oil production and how oil prices are likely to jump as a result,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. While there is some good news that motorists should not expect a sudden and major uptick in gas prices, there may be a minor impact beginning mid-week and continuing until Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Aramco, is able to restore all production. 

“However, even after oil production levels return to normal, there is an undeniable factor that will now forever impact oil prices – and that is that Saudi Arabia’s reliability and stability is no longer guaranteed, and this missile strike is evidence that perhaps one of the world’s most stable oil producers may no longer be seen as stable as they were prior to this event.”

KIOGA condemns attacks on Saudi oil

Cross: U.S. needs to be more energy independent


TOPEKA – The Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association condemns the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities currently blamed on the Iranian backed Houthi rebels of Yemen this past weekend, KIOGA President Ed Cross said. 

“The health of the domestic U.S. oil and gas industry is very important to the world and the situation today reinforces the value of American oil,” Cross said. “Everyone seems to forget this until there is a crisis.” 

Prior to technological innovations that revolutionized America’s energy production, U.S. foreign policy decisions were constrained by America’s dependence on foreign oil. America’s new role as a global energy superpower is reshaping the formulation of our foreign policy. 

“While the current situation could last weeks or months, it drives home the need and importance for an energy independent America, particularly with crude oil production and supply,” said Cross. “Fifteen years ago, we would have seen a much more drastic market response. Thanks to the American energy renaissance, ample U.S. inventory allows us to address disruptions like this around the world, provide market stability, and protect the American public’s domestic energy needs.” 

“The fragility in the Middle East shows that those who say we can turn our back on American-produced energy are foolish and risk our economic and energy security. In reality, the U.S. should be looking to broaden energy exploration to discover new resources, secure our energy future, and strengthen our economy.”