As Hurricane Isaac affected the Gulf and forced evacuation at refineries, gas prices began an upward trend this week and by late Wednesday, most areas of Oklahoma had seen fuel prices increase about 10 to 15 cents per gallon, according to AAA.
Chuck Mai, AAA spokesman, said the average for a gallon of self-serve unleaded regular in the state was anywhere between $3.66 to $3.72 per gallon, depending on the area, with higher prices reported in Tulsa. On the low end, those prices put gas up nearly 8 cents per gallon from last week and up almost 27 cents from a month ago.
Most areas of the state saw an increase of about 10 to 15 cents per gallon starting Monday night and into Tuesday, with increased prices at the pump noticeable on Wednesday.
"We've seen the impact," Mai said, adding prices at the pumps varied depending on brand and city.
Mai attributed the price increases to production concerns and a reduced supply because of the hurricane.
"Six refineries were evacuated and ceased operations," he said, and "five to six went to half staff."
Local area resident Doraine Jolly, who typically fills up her car once a week, said just because of a hurricane in the Gulf, there's no sense in prices going up here on gasoline supplies that were already on hand.
"I think it's crap — it shouldn't go up, not one penny," she said, hoping the prices go back down before she has to fill up again.
After the hurricane made landfall Wednesday, it was hoped there were would be little damage, although Mai said flooding was reported to be an issue and those waters could keep crews from resuming production quickly.
"We'll have to see once flood waters recede…and see how extensive the damage is," Mai said, adding the refineries are built to withstand heavy rains, but not necessarily flooding. But either way, Mai said it could have been worse has the hurricane been more severe.
"Isaac may still be churning and motorists may have weathered the gas prices," he said.
About one-quarter of the nation's oil is produced in the Gulf of Mexico.