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

Cynic’s Delight

Comment on the June 30 prediction:  Pretty much CORRECT.  Prices rose as predicted, but to $2.99

Wednesday, July 8, 2015, 7:30AM:  Recent wholesale/retail price action has been a gift to the cynics.  Last week Tuesday, we got a suspicious wholesale hike that led to a price re-set last Wednesday to $2.99, just in time for Independence Day weekend.  Then, while the ink on the hike wasn’t even dry, wholesale prices started falling.  Then we get Monday’s big drop in oil prices, which has led to a big drop in wholesale gas prices, but retail prices aren’t in a hurry to head down.  So, that brings us here:  I estimate the price-to-retailers this morning to be $2.58, and in Lowell, which is usually the price-loss leader, you can buy gas at the moment for $2.72.  We are still in the $2.80’s in many places.  So, unless we get another whipsaw in the wholesale market, I predict we are going to see prices in the $2.60’s around town in the next two days.  You might want to wait to fill up. — Ed A.

Someone is Creating A Price Hike

Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 5:15PM:  Some sort of end-of-month/end-of-quarter monkey business in the Chicago gasoline markets today.  Wholesale prices soared, and while I am certain they will go back down tomorrow or Thursday, that won’t prevent a price hike tomorrow.  Estimated new price:  $2.95 in Michigan. –Ed A.

Still Playing The Gas Game

Comment on the June 10 prediction:  Yup, prices rose on June 11, to $2.99.  CORRECT.

Thursday, June 25, 2015, 7:00PM:  It was Father’s Day, 13 years ago, when my original essay appeared in the Grand Rapids Press.  Soon afterwards, I started posting predictions to a web site.  After a while, this current site, TheGasGame.com, was established, as I teamed up with Patrick DeHaan.  Bill Eby joined us later, and he has regularly updated The Spike Line, and also contributed occasional posts and comments.

Will we be here for another 13 years?  We plan to be.  The need is still there, as we have seen: gas prices have ridden a roller coaster the past twelve months.  We won’t always be CORRECT, but we’ll do the best we can.

We continue to welcome your comments.  Please, though, keep the focus on gas price issues.  And if you have suggestions for improving the site, please e-mail me, using the link on the left side of the page.

Also, a reminder that you can get Gas Game updates in a number of ways.  Along with the web site, we have a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, and you can also subscribe to get e-mail updates.  Use what is best for you!

Some numbers for you

I posted this last year in May or June:

Average prices

It showed that after May or June, prices tend to fall. My guess is it will do that again this year.

I do find the price increase odd this year, however. We started the year with the Chicago Spot at an average of $1.2379 a gallon, and oil at $47.48 a barrel. That is 2.607%. This jumps to $51.01/$1.5514/3.041% in February, $47.77/$1.6327/3.418% in March, $54.50/$1.7347/3.183% in April, $59.37/$1.9318/3.254% in May, and $59.85/$2.0290/3.390% so far in June. I wondered how this compared to last year. It did go up percentage wise, but not as extreme as this year. Going January to June: 2.646%/2.697%/2.816%/2.784%/2.813%/2.841%. The good news is, July was 2.645%.

The reason I bring this up, is there is something that happens every year that can cause these spikes up, and that is the switch to summer blend (probably along with more consumption). That’s what I thought I was seeing this year. But it’s a bigger jump this year. Refinery issues could be the reason (look at that spike up in August and September in 2012 for the same reason). With prices being about half of what they were, we could also be seeing January of last year as an anomaly. With the base cost of refining staying the same, that could be the reason it’s a higher percentage this year than last.

I don’t see $4 coming anytime soon. I don’t see $3 either, although it’s a lot more possible than $4, and if it does, it shouldn’t last long. Supply is still up, consumption is still down. Those variables aren’t going to change much anytime soon, with consumption on a continuing downward trend. That, and the fact the price usually peaks, then falls the rest of the year, means doomsayers can relax a little.

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