Too Cold To Hike Prices? No.

Comment on Monday’s prediction: Kind of hard to raise prices in the Midwest, when no one is driving and buying gas. But tomorrow is Friday …

Thursday, January 31, 2019, 7PM: I’ve been watching oil prices rally all week, and then Midwestern wholesale gas prices, now Valero stock has gotten into the act, up a lot this week. Meanwhile, prices have dipped below $2 in a number of places, well below the 0-cent margin price. I recommend filling up Friday morning, predicting a price hike on Friday or Saturday (or best case Monday), in the neighborhood of $2.39. -EA

Blizzard Will Keep Prices Stable

Comment on the December 29 posting and most of January: We had hikes in Michigan on January 2, 9, and 22, each one a bit higher than before. So, the posting was basically CORRECT.

Monday, January 28, 2019, 11AM: A very snowy Monday in West Michigan, and I have a chance to get caught up on my Gas Game analysis after a brief hiatus. Since the first of the year, energy prices have rallied, following the stock market, and I expect these two will continue in tandem. This morning, for instance, both stocks and oil are down. My estimate of the 0-cent margin price this morning is $2.05, and in most places we are well above that, which suggests retail prices will continue to fall slowly. However, we have a gas war on W River Drive in Comstock Park. $1.86?! I’m going to consider that a weird outlier and stick with a prediction of no hike this week, except maybe in Comstock Park. -EA

A Remarkable Fourth Quarter For Energy

Comment on the December 17 posting: CORRECT that prices kept sliding, down in the $1.80’s in certain parts of west Michigan.

Saturday, December 29, 2018, 4:00PM: Let’s be clear about what has happened this fall. On October 1, oil was $75 a barrel and today it is $45. This has led to retail gas prices moving from over $3 a gallon to under $2. This is remarkable! Looking at the new year, because retail prices are all over the place, and we’ve seen a slight rebound in wholesale prices, I suspect Speedway and friends will do a system-wide reset, but we’re only talking something like $2.19 or $2.29. Then, if seasonal trends hold, prices should start moving higher during the first half of 2019 … but I wouldn’t count on it. Happy New Year, everyone! -EA

Recession Coming, or Just Boredom

Comment on the November 25 posting: The reset came on December 4, to $2.39, as we didn’t have any upside in energy until then.

Monday, December 17, Noon: There has been a lack of drama in the energy markets this month, and hence a lack of posting to this site. Today, oil is back to $50 a barrel, which has served as support lately. Short term, it is hard to make a case for a price reset, and we’ll probably see $1.999 again somewhere in western Michigan this week. Longer term, December has been the time of year where prices bottom out, due to more supply and less demand, so, we should probably see higher prices in January. On the other hand, 20+% collapse of oil prices this fall, and the weak stock market, are signs that a recession is starting, which would continue to keep gas prices down. But, you know what they say: “The old joke is that the stock market has predicted 9 out of the last 5 recessions.” -EA

Early Christmas Present: Gas Less Than $2!

Comment on the November 18 posting: In the comment section, Jim Kaplan wrote, “At least in Chicagoland, hikes in the 3 days before Thanksgiving are very unusual. I’m not sure I recall one.” He was correct, and I was WRONG.

Sunday, November 25, 2018, 7:00PM: Oil and wholesale gasoline prices got roasted on Friday, and that’s why you see $2.00 a gallon in northwest Kent County (Michigan). Let’s enjoy it while it lasts, but before that latest sell-off, we were in price hike territory, so any reversal to the upside in the energy markets, and I think Big Red will try to reset into the $2.30’s. Until that happens, seek out $1.999. -EA

Let Us Give Thanks For Lower Gas Prices This Fall

Comment on the November 11 posting: Further retail drops, as predicted. CORRECT.

Sunday, November 18, 2018, 5:00PM: In the past week, oil prices fell nearly 10%, wholesale gas prices not so much, but retail prices keep trying to find a floor. This evening, a gallon of gas is $2.16 on Alpine Avenue, northwest of Grand Rapids, which sits below what I calculate as the 0-margin price: $2.29. Because retail prices are all over the place (as high as $2.51 elsewhere in GR), I would not be surprised if Big Red and others decide on a pre-holiday price hike this week, to reset everything to $2.49, which is still wonderfully less than the over $3 prices we saw at the beginning of October. Best strategy is to fill up on Alpine on Monday. -EA

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