Month: January 2006

$2.49- what next?

In a blink of an eye, whatever discount there was between Chicago and New York is gone, and prices rose here on Friday and Monday, to a new price of $2.49. So, what is next? Crude oil is more than 10% this month, but NYMEX unleaded gasoline hasn’t gone up very much this month, so that makes me nervous. The two price hikes in a row indicate Speedway and friends are nervous, too, so we can’t be surprised to see another price hike by the end of the week. That’s not a prediction as of right now, but we’ll keep an eye on things.

No prediction this week

I am taking back my prediction from Monday afternoon and changing to “no prediction” for the week. Gasoline retailers subscribe to a daily market report that someone was willing to share with me on Tuesday, and the report indicates that Chicago-based wholesale prices are significantly lower than elsewhere in the country right now, due to regional oversupply. Since I only have daily access to the NYMEX prices (it’s free!), I don’t feel I have the information to make the right prediction for the next few days. Prices could fall to $2 a gallon, jump to $2.49, or just stay where they are. Maybe things will be clearer next week. By Monday the 30th, it all cleared up. We got two price hikes in a row, to $2.39 on Friday and to $2.49 on Monday. Sheesh!

Could have been worse

I was suprised that last Wednesday’s price hike wasn’t worse, given past history. Also, seeing prices in Grand Rapids and Detroit (where I visited last weekend) in the mid $2.20’s makes me wonder why we are getting such a discount right now versus the New York Unleaded (NYMEX) prices. I’m not complaining, but it makes it harder to predict a price hike, when you don’t know where the bottom is. But, factoring a 12-cent “fudge factor” discount, retailers must be paying $2.20 right now, so on the Northeast side of town, we are at the bottom right now. So, the crystal ball says a price hike this week, but maybe not until Thursday, with a new price in the $2.40’s or $2.50’s. Early Wednesday, I took back this prediction.

Losing money?

If the retailers want to sell gasoline to us below cost, then more power to them. But how will they resist a price hike today after wholesale prices soared 9 cents yesterday, putting the 20-cent margin price at $2.57? Yes, that’s a prediction. Prices did rise on Wednesday, but only to $2.45, so I’ll give myself a 3/4 CORRECT, 1/4 WRONG.

Price hike to $2.49?

Wholesale prices continued going up late last week, so that this morning, the 20-cent margin price is $2.52. (It was $2.57 yesterday morning.) With most Speedways in Grand Rapids in the $2.30s, the most likely outcome is a price hike before the end of the week, to above $2.49. I was really surprised to see prices sink to $2.24 by Friday, so the prediction was WRONG.

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