Michigan Has Had It Good This Week

Comment on the October 27 prediction: There were hikes around the Midwest, but not in Michigan, so we have to say WRONG.

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 8:30AM: Prices have been nice and low here in Michigan. Although a week ago, it looked like we were in price-hike territory, it appears that wholesale prices dropped considerably through Thursday, until there was a sharp rebound on Friday that corresponded to a $2 jump in the price of a barrel of oil. So, with prices as low as $2.12 in Wyoming, Michigan, we’ve got to be seeing a reset on Monday or Tuesday, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.59. Time to top the tank! -EA

I’ll make this short … time to fill up!

Comment on the October 14 prediction: CORRECT, as prices rose later that day.

Sunday, October 27, 2019, 7PM: I was in downtown Grand Rapids an hour ago and saw $2.29 a gallon on Fuller Ave, and there are a lot of $2.30’s around town. Best calculation I have right now of the 0-margin price is $2.40, so we are set for a hike on Monday or Tuesday. New price estimate: $2.69. Fill up! -EA

We keep adjusting to win the Game

Comment on the September 22 prediction: WRONG, as we didn’t get the hike until a week later.

Monday, October 14, 2019, 10AM: One of the foundational aspects of winning The Gas Game is to have a good estimate of wholesale gas prices, and that has been a real challenge the last few months. We use the DTN MarketWire, where it is freely-available, to get a Chicago CBOB and/or RBOB end-of-day-quote, but as you can see if you click on news links on this page, those articles are often delayed 1-5 days. In addition, the DTN writers have started ignoring Chicago, instead reporting on rack rates in cities like Pittsburgh. And at the same time, Speedway has stopped posting prices on their site.

Taking this data situation into account, we are have to go Old School. When The Gas Game was started many years ago, I used the New York NYMEX RBOB quote to start my calculation, and that quote is available everywhere, including on our site. That led to miscalculations from time-to-time, when New York and Chicago didn’t add up, due to refinery fires, squirrels, and other issues. But, for now, we are back to using NYMEX, adjusted a bit by a CBOB vs RBOB quote and a weekly rack rate snapshot. This will also affect the Spike Line that Craig maintains.

So, what about this week? Based on Friday’s closing prices, it looks like a hike would be triggered as we near $2.45 a gallon. We are below that price in some places in the Grand Rapids area (e.g. Alpine Avenue), so I smell a hike on the way this week, maybe as soon as today. Fill up! -EA

Cross Currents

Comment on the September 14 prediction: Pretty much CORRECT, although the attack on the Saudi oil led to $2.79 instead of $2.69.

Sunday, September 22, 2019, 3PM: A lot of cross-currents right now when it comes to predicting gas prices. We have new, growing tensions in the Middle East. Recall from more than a decade ago how war there led to $4 gas. On the other hand, we are at the end of the summer, which historically is a time for retail prices to drop, now until Christmas. Put it together, and despite the hike to $2.79 a week ago, we are still hovering around $2.69 in most places. Based on Friday’s market, prices could drop to around $2.55 until we get another hike. Best guess right now is that prices drop slowly until Wednesday or Thursday, and then there is a reset. -EA

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Saturday, September 14, 2019, Noon: Busy times at GVSU with our new president, so I have been slow to post to this site. Also, wholesale prices have been tame the past month, with the only surprise to me being the hike after Labor Day. I have a note that pops up for me every year at the beginning of September warning me to be careful about predicting hikes, because Big Red and their friends tend to have a gasoline clearance sale in September, anticipating the end of the summer gasoline blending season.

So, other than the hike on September 3, retail prices have been tame, while wholesale prices have worked their way lower. Consequently, we have prices as low as $2.22 today in Cedar Springs, and rumors of $1.99 farther away. I see $2.39 in Ada today. Given all that, and looking at wholesale numbers, we are setting up for a price reset this coming week, maybe back to $2.69. -EA

Will Iranian tensions keep gas prices up? IDK.

Comment on the August 11 prediction: Almost CORRECT, as prices rose on August 12, but higher than I had predicted.

Sunday, August 18, 2019, 9:30AM: Based on Friday’s prices in the energy market, we have room to go lower in retail prices. The cheapest I can find near Grand Rapids right now is $2.51 (ignoring the Costco/Sam’s Club discounted prices), but we could easily be in the $2.30’s. The fly in the ointment is the ongoing tension with Iran, such as the oil tanker near Gibraltar this weekend. (Looking back at 21st century gas prices, the highest prices ($4+ a gallon) correlated with tension or war in the Middle East.) Nevertheless, I am going to hold off filling up this week until I have to, looking for cheaper prices.

In other news, look who settled a gas gouging lawsuit in Kentucky this summer. -EA

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