OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – While AAA projects nearly 600,000 Oklahoma drivers to hit the roads for Memorial Day weekend for the start to the summer travel season, due to skyrocketing gas prices many drivers said they plan to stay local for the holiday weekend.
“We’re going to stay and enjoy the city,” said Oklahoma City driver Jasmine Bradley while filling up her tank.
“[Gas] was around $40 to completely fill up [our car] before,” she added. “But now we’re looking at close to $66.”
Oklahoma still has some of the lowest prices in the country, hovering around $4.10, though current gas prices are up significantly from the same time in 2021.
“Last year at this same point, Memorial Day holiday weekend, we were paying $2.74/gallon,” said Leslie Gamble of AAA Oklahoma.
“We are the least expensive state in the nation for gas pricing, and even then, we continue to set new records,” she added.
Recent National AAA data showed gas prices are over $6 in places like California.
While there is talk of digital pumps needing to be reprogrammed to reflect double digit gas prices, that’s not happening yet.
“Even in Los Angeles and California, which is one of the priciest stations in the country, there’s still $2 a gallon under that $10 mark,” said De Haan.
“Maybe 20, 30 years from now, we talk about gas at double digits, but I don’t see that anytime soon.”
Gamble told KFOR Friday that it is hard to tell how world events and domestic production will influence prices throughout the summer, but consumers should be prepared.
“We don’t have that answer, [but] we don’t expect things to change any time soon,” said Gamble.
Gamble also confirmed that other states within proximity of Oklahoma, including Kansas, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana typically have less expensive gas prices due to their proximity to where oil is produced, manufactured and even transported.
“There’s a lot of demand [and] there’s not a single state [with gas prices] under $4,” added Patrick De Haan, an expert on issues driving gasoline prices, citing specific issues created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Oklahoma City now has just in the last week gone above that $4 mark for the first time ever, and it will still be the highest it’s ever been on Memorial Day.”
De Haan is also founder of GasBuddy, a web-based tech aggregator that consolidates real-time fuel prices in the United States, Canada and Australia.
De Haan also said drivers should prepare for a record-setting summer of high gas prices.
“I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of improvement,” he said, citing additional stressors, including extreme weather situations. “In fact, prices may go up a little bit more towards July, and gasoline demand remains strong,” he added.
“Having a car is a necessity,” said Bradley, telling KFOR she’d make necessary adjustments to her driving habits. “You just got to take that into account, and you just plan accordingly,” she added.