June 11, 2017, 7:00PM: This spring, we’ve been commenting on what appears to be more aggressive retail pricing of gasoline, with more frequent price resets and higher margins. That 0-cent margin price still exists, though, and when Big Red takes its foot off the accelerator, you start to see wide variation of prices in the region, like we are seeing this weekend. As I write this, you can get gas for $2.10 in Belding (northeast of Grand Rapids), but a few miles away, prices are in the $2.40’s and even $2.50’s in some places in GR. That’s because of the fat margins of those in the 2.40’s right now, and the slim-to-none margins in Belding. With competition, margins shrink.
Going forward, I see no reason for a price reset any time soon, except maybe in Belding. And, although we don’t tend to engage in long term predictions here on The Gas Game, this tweet from an economic professor suggests significantly higher oil prices are on their way, and gas prices will follow. Right now, I don’t believe it, but take a look! –Ed A.
Comment the April 30 prediction and May action: Although the original prediction was CORRECT, we have had two price resets on the 10th and the 18th that I have completely missed, hence WRONG.
May 20, 2017, 5:00PM: Suddenly, our game strategy isn’t working. The price hikes in May have both come with retail prices at least 15 cents away from where I would predict a hike was coming. The first hike was rather mild — 9 cents in Michigan on the 10th. The second one this week was a more intense — 17 cents. Based on the new prices, it looks like Big Red and his friends are trying to move the window to better margins. Maybe this will work this time, but in past years, ye old Gas Game kicks back in after a while. Nevertheless, we’ll have to be more alert this summer and a bit quicker to fill up. Of course, that’s just what they want. — Ed A.
Two sharp-eyed readers recently commented that the results showing in The Spike Line didn’t match what they calculated using the formulas shown on the page, and those in turn skewed what was showing in the charts. Their comments spurred me to take a look at the spreadsheet that I update daily and underpins what you see on both “The Spike Line” and “Today in Oil” pages. As it turns out, the readers were correct – there were some deviations between the calculations in the spreadsheet and the displayed formulas.
The differences were not dramatic; the actual variances were between roughly 1 and 3 cents. That was enough, though, to throw off when the numbers and charts predicted a spike. I’ve since adjusted the spreadsheet calculations to match the formulas, so anyone doing the math should be reaching the same result. Ohio was not affected, as the formula and calculation matched.
Thanks for following The Gas Game and letting us know! -CP
Comment on March 27 and April: The March 27 prediction was CORRECT, as we got a price hike. I’ve been quiet during April, missing two price hikes. For the second one on April 19, margins seemed high enough that we would avoid a hike. But score me WRONG.
April 30, 2017, 12 Noon: I’m not sure what that hike was about on April 19, but since then, wholesale prices have slipped by a dime. As of today, we aren’t even close to price hike territory, with Michigan prices in the $2.40’s. So, don’t be in a rush to fill up this week, unless you need to. -EA
Good bump in spot price today. The nearly 6 cent jump put Ohio and Indiana solidly below the Spike Line. Thinking a Good Friday spike is looking likely for Ohio and Indiana. Michigan is in better shape and may avoid a hike tomorrow. Tonight or tomorrow morning would be a good time to fill ‘er up or top it off. Best wishes to you all for a Happy Easter! Save travels to those of you on the road. – TS
Comment on the March 21 prediction: No hike in a week, so CORRECT.
Monday, March 27, 2017, 7:30PM: I’ll keep this short: uh, oh. A bad report from Chicago tonight on CBOB prices, so we are set for a price hike on Tuesday. $2.49 in Michigan? -EA