These weekend prices hikes are making it difficult to play

Comment on the April 6 prediction:  Technically, I was WRONG.  Some stations reset to $3.89 the next day, but the hike to $3.99 didn’t arrive until Monday the 11th.

Sunday, April 17, 2011, 3:00PM:  A price re-set has spread around the area this weekend, with the retail price back to $3.99.  This is consistent with what happened to the wholesale price, which slipped early in the week and then came back to where it was Friday which led to Monday’s hike to $3.99.  Weekend hikes have been rare, and now we have seen two in a month, thwarting gas gamers everywhere. — Ed Aboufadel

Updated: April 17, 2011 — 2:26 pm

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  1. Here’s where gasoline futures settled today:

    May – $3.2528

    Jun – $3.2184

    Jul – $3.1883

    Aug – $3.1608

    Sep – $3.1289

    Oct – $2.9776

    It’s only the front month contract (May) that you want to look at for current gas prices. $3.2892 is the highest we’ve seen this year, and that was achieved on Friday, April 15. The previous highest was $3.2700 on Friday, April 8. Our first $3.999 at the pump was achieved that Monday, April 11.

    As you can see, there is already a 15.13¢ drop built into the market between the September and October contracts, the drop we see at the pump following Labor Day.

    Similarly, there is already an 11.23¢ increase built in for next March:

    Mar 2012 – $2.9524

    Apr 2012 – $3.0647

    Keeping an eye on the front month contract gives us the greatest look ahead on where pump prices are going.

  2. Even though oil is making news for being over $110 again (currently $110.97), gasoline futures aren’t any higher then they’ve been recently, currently at $3.2613.

    Gasoline futures for this time next year (May 2012) are currently $3.0604. It will be interesting to come back to this post in 1 year and see where the price is then.

  3. Meijer alerted on yesterday’s (April 20) reset to $3.999, but they have changed their text to:

    “Meijer Gas Alert! Market conditions are rapidly changing fuel costs. Fill up at Meijer as we expect gas prices to increase around 2:30 EDT.”

    Their previous text had been the same for quite a while:

    “Meijer Gas Alert! Meijer Gas prices will increase after 1:30 pm EST today! (03/30/11)! Fill up at Meijer before prices go up!”

    “Meijer Gas Alert! Meijer Gas prices will increase after 1:30 pm EST 03/24/11! Fill up at Meijer before prices go up. (For MI, IN, OH, KY)”

    “Meijer Gas Alert! Meijer Gas prices will increase after 1:30 pm EST today (03/18/11) ! Fill up at Meijer before prices go up.”

    “Meijer Gas Alert! Meijer Gas prices will increase after 1:30 pm EST today (3/10) in MI, IN, OH, & KY. Fill up at Meijer before prices go up!”

    The futures market was no good in helping us to predict this reset, because the localized increase apparently was a result of a problem at an Exxon Mobil facility in Joliet, Illinois that occurred Monday (April 18) at 8:30 p.m. ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-19/exxon-reports-unit-goes-offline-at-joliet-refinery.html )

    The good news is that refinery is reportedly back to normal as of yesterday afternoon ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/20/refinery-operations-exxon-joliet-idUSN2018163720110420 )

    Yesterday, the Department of Energy reported U.S. gasoline inventories are 17 million barrels below last year’s level.

    Gasoline futures are currently $3.2717.

  4. U.S. markets are closed today for the Good Friday holiday. However, this won’t be a good Friday if we officially cross $4 today in West Michigan. I’m expecting to see $4.099 within the hour.

    A Marathon on Red Arrow Highway in Paw Paw has taken the leap, going to $4.199, reported at 6:41 this morning. No stations in the Grand Rapids area are yet reported as going above $3.999.

  5. If this weren’t Easter weekend, gas would probably be $4.099 by now in West Michigan. Instead, there has been no significant change since my last post, except the Red Arrow Highway Marathon in Paw Paw has been forced to go back down to $3.999.

    Probably because many people think gas stations take advantage of consumers by going up right before a holiday, I’ve noticed Speedway has specifically avoided going up right before a holiday weekend. So, I’m expecting Speedway won’t go up for the remainder of this weekend and will make up for the losses this weekend by having a larger increase Monday morning to $4.159.

    Outside of the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas, there a few Southwest Michigan stations above $4, most of which are in Berrien County, near the state border:

    * $4.099, reported 8:40 this morning, Marathon south of Battle Creek on M-66 at H Dr. S.

    * $4.099, reported 4:41 p.m. Friday, BP in Watervliet on near I-94

    * $4.099, reported 12:49 p.m. Friday, BP in Bridgman on Red Arrow Highway at I-94

    * $4.099, reported 4:00 a.m. Friday, Marathon in Union on U.S. 12

    * $4.129, reported 12:10 this morning, Citgo in Sawyer near I-94

    * New Buffalo has all 4 stations above $4, with $4.04 and $4.09 reported downtown Thursday evening and the two stations in the township $4.15 Friday night and Saturday morning.

    In the Lansing area, there are now 4 stations above $4, all at $4.09. Yesterday morning, there were 3 stations above $4, two $4.05 and one $4.09.

    Gasoline futures last traded Thursday night, where they settled at $3.3086, the highest this year.

  6. It is 2:57 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24. The average for Ann Arbor has already surpassed $4 to $4.005:

    $4.005 – Ann Arbor (at least 9 stations at $4.099, plus 5 stations $4.119 to $4.199)

    $3.969 – Kalamazoo (no stations above $3.999)

    $3.967 – Detroit (at least 7 stations $4.159, 2 $4.179, 5 $4.199, 1 $4.299)

    ***** $3.966 Michigan average *****

    $3.949 – Grand Rapids (no stations above $3.999)

    $3.939 – Flint (6 stations above $4)

    $3.932 – Lansing (1 station $4.059, 3 $4.099, 1 $4.199)

    While this is not a terrible surprise, it is rare we get to see what happens when Speedway doesn’t lead the charge for an extended period of time (3 days). Clearly, Speedway is a very large influence in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas.

    Here are current state averages outside of Michigan:

    $3.972 – Indiana (at least 15 stations $4.199 to $4.299)
    $3.863 – Ohio (7 stations $4.009 to $4.109)
    $3.843 – Kentucky (1 station $4.059, 1 $4.099)

    $3.841 – national average

    $3.753 – New Jersey (7 stations above $4)
    $3.744 – Texas (10 stations above $4)
    $3.593 – Colorado (3 stations above $4)
    $3.519 – Wyoming ($3.699 highest in state)

  7. Thanks, Dieter, for the updates!

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