After the Surge

Comment on the July 22 prediction:  No, they didn’t reset the system until the beginning of August, so WRONG.

Thursday, August 20, 2015, 11:15AM:  So, I take a few weeks off for some academic travel and some relaxing and everything goes crazy.  Why are we so vulnerable to the refinery in Whiting?  Just to show you how crazy it was last week, here are two screenshots from Speedway’s web site on August 11 and 12, from a station in Fort Wayne.  The nice thing: with a Speedy Rewards card, they gave you the pre-hike price for the rest of the day.  Do they do that in Michigan?

Aug 11-12 Hikes Speedy RewardsNow, what’s next?  Since the Uber-like “surge pricing” last week, Chicago CBOB has gone from $2.51 to $1.96, and I bet it is lower today.  Oil prices are in free-fall again, down near $40 a barrel.  And those $2.95’s I see around the Grand Rapids area look rich given the CBOB price.  (I see we are down to $2.82 in Kentwood as I write this.)  So, expect prices to keep falling, probably through the end of August.  I’m not going to be in a hurry to fill up. — Ed A.

Out of the frying pan…

When I agreed to contribute here, I said, “Sure, I can write an post a week!” The market is pushing me towards a daily contribution. The loss of the crude distillation unit at BP Whiting has wreaked havoc on the Midwest markets. As of this post, Chicago CBOB was up 60 cents and RBOB was up 65 cents. Without some crazy market reverses, I don’t see how we will avoid another price hike this week. A simple addition of today’s market increases and today’s spike prices across the Great Lakes region puts us above the $3 mark. If you haven’t topped off yet, today’s spike price may start to look pretty good by mid-morning tomorrow. -TS

Some good news, some bad news

Greetings, everybody. I’m the new guy, Tim. I was recently been asked by TheGasGame to join their group and help out with contributions on gas prices from the Great State of Ohio. I have been tracking gasoline prices in Ohio for several years using the model developed by TheGasGame. I do my best to help people time their gasoline purchase and save money. It’s a real honor to have been invited by Patrick, Ed, and Bill to write here. I look forward to sharing my perspective with you all and hearing back from you, as well.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that there’s been a large jump in the Chicago CBOB price today. It’s the result of a downed crude distillation unit locate at BP Whiting – one of the largest refineries in the Midwest. CBOB closed UP 28 cents a gallon and RBOB is UP 23 cents a gallon. These new spot prices look to put Indiana under the Spike Line and take a big bite out of the margins in Ohio and Michigan. It’s uncommon for such a large jump to go unnoticed by our friends in Enon, OH. Be prepared for a price hike tomorrow. -TS

A weekend spike?

To all the new people here, I’m Bill, and I update The Spike Line that you can find under features in the menu above. It’s been good at predicting price spikes in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio for quite a while. What I am seeing now is Indianapolis with a 12 cent negative margin, Michigan and Ohio are not. That usually means a spike is on the horizon. But Indiana has been in the negative much of the week, so it’s hard to tell what will happen.

Last month I lost weekly rack prices from Convenience Store Decisions. It gave rack prices for Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Detroit. I used the differences to calculate how Indiana, Michigan and Ohio should look, and it worked well as a predictor. This could be why I’m off, and I hope to figure out an alternative, soon.

That said, a spike should happen soon, and a rare weekend spike is a possibility. -BE

I wouldn’t be surprised if Speedway …

Comment on the July 16 prediction:  No price hikes, so CORRECT.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 6:00PM:  So what do we do here?  Since the last price reset on July 1, wholesale prices have fallen more than 20 cents a gallon, while retail prices … well … it depends.  Gas is selling for $2.69 a gallon at Wealthy and Division in downtown Grand Rapids.  A few miles away, in Wyoming (MI), $2.12 — that’s a difference of 57 cents!  It is $2.57 on Lake Michigan Drive, but the stations I watch in Fort Wayne have been stuck in the mid $2.30’s for three days, while my estimate of the price to retailers is $2.41.  So, for some stations, we are far enough above the price to retailers that there shouldn’t be a hike.  For others, they are selling at such a loss that I don’t know how they stay in business.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Speedway reset the whole system to $2.59 on Thursday. -EA

Same old quickly up/slowly down story

Comment on the July 8 prediction:  Prices have continued to fall, so CORRECT.

Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7:30AM:  Energy (and gold) continuing their declines in the wholesale market, and gas prices have been (slowly) joining suit.  With CBOB Chicago at $1.75 yesterday, and ethanol at $1.61, I estimate a price to retailers this morning of $2.41.  That explains $2.44 in Lowell, but there are still a lot of prices over $2.70 around town.  C’mon!  Prediction: no price hike on the horizon.  -EA

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