End of Omaha price war sends gas costs up - Omaha.com
Published Friday, May 10, 2013 at 12:00 am / Updated at 6:39 am
End of Omaha price war sends gas costs up

Ouch. That hurt.

Gasoline prices shot up in Omaha this week 22 cents per gallon in one day at some stations.

Rarely do gas prices rise so fast, said Rose White, a AAA spokeswoman who is the dean of gas prices in Nebraska.

The reason: Omaha prices are bouncing back up after an end to a price war.

“You've had a very competitive, spirited battle going on in Omaha, and that can only last so long before prices escalate,” said Mike Thornbrugh, spokesman for QuikTrip.

“Gas prices in Omaha have been artificially low for close to a month,” said Ruth Comer, spokeswoman for Hy-Vee. “Prices seem to be coming back up to reflect actual costs. What looks like a spike in gas prices is actually a market correction.”

Table: Unleaded fuel prices (per gallon) in Nebraska

OmahaLincolnNorth PlatteScottsbluffFremontGrand IslandColumbus
5/9/20133.603.593.63.393.523.523.53
5/8/20133.573.533.593.383.453.523.52
5/7/20133.423.503.483.413.453.473.51
5/6/20133.403.483.493.433.443.423.44
5/5/20133.393.503.453.433.423.433.40
5/4/20133.423.493.463.423.383.433.43
5/3/20133.453.483.463.423.393.423.43

Citywide, gas prices have averaged a 21-cent increase at the pump since Sunday, White said, with the largest single-day jump occurring Tuesday.

Comer said the larger market forces will continue to affect price.

John Felmey, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, said some Omahans, trying to make sense of the city's price increase, have wondered if the Israeli airstrike in Syria caused prices to spike. It hasn't.

The broad, underlying factor is the rising price of crude oil, Felmey said. Crude oil prices bottomed out April 16 and have been rising since, he said.

Gasoline prices tend to follow crude prices by a couple of weeks, and they bottomed out April 28, he said.

Logically, the price at the pump will continue to rise as the increasing price in crude works its way through the system, but that's not a given, Felmey said. Among the myriad of complex market forces at play: Consumer demand is down.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Services, said at the start of May, consumer demand averaged over the past month was the lowest it had been in nearly 15 years.

Also, U.S. crude oil production is at its highest levels since the early 1990s.

Trading strategies, the value of the dollar and other factors also play a role.

Contact the writer: Nancy Gaarder

nancy.gaarder@owh.com    |   402-444-1102    |  

Nancy writes about weather, including a blog, Nancy's Almanac. She enjoys explaining the science behind weather and making weather stories relevant in daily life.

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