Behind the Scenes: How QuikTrip Determines Your Gas Prices

Tulsa gas prices have been on the rise in the past few weeks.

Whether you're filling up or not, you likely glance at the prices when you drive by a gas station.

The day-to-day rollercoaster of gas prices leaves many wondering who sets the prices and why. asked top ranking QuikTrip official Mike Thornbrugh to help us understand the ups and downs of gas prices in Tulsa.

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The Tulsa-based company sells about 2 percent of the nation's gasoline but consider themselves to have a dominant share of business in Tulsa.

Thornbrugh says gasoline is a complicated, emotional commodity traded 24 hours a day.

"When the price goes down, you get excited; when it goes up, you get upset," he said.

What time do gas prices change?

"It could change at any minute of the day. When you go to pick up a load of gasoline, the price could change."

Thornbrugh says the average store fills its tanks 1.5 or 2 times a day.

"We monitor the tank levels and we know the averages for each store," he said.

Who has the final approval on a gas price change?

This is a question Thornbrugh did not answer directly but he acknowledged that someone "has to coordinate it."

Are all QT prices identical in Tulsa?

"There is little variation between one Tulsa QT store and another," Thornbrugh said.

He says cities like Dallas, Phoenix or Kansas City, Kansas have taxes that explain some cost differences between cities.

How closely do you watch your competitors in Tulsa?

"We are very cognizant and vigilant of what's going on in the marketplace," Thornbrugh said. "The consumer and competitors know Quik Trip is one of the most competitive gas stations in town. We're not going to be beat on prices."

There seems to always be tension in the Middle East. What else drives the price of gasoline?

"There is tension in Washington. D.C.," Thornbrugh said. "The price of crude oil, supply and demand, and pipelines that have gone down are other factors.

"Transportation costs are static. We watch the wholesale market and the competition."

QuikTrip operates 68 stores in the Tulsa area. Nationwide they have 649 stores (as of Feb. 7) in 11 states.