Lower prices should continue

Comment on last Wednesday’s prediction:  It took a few days, but gas is now below $4 all over town, so the prediction was CORRECT.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 7:15AM:  Wholesale gas prices took another kick in the teeth on Monday, with a 50-cent drop since my May 3 rant (according to AXXIS).  This morning, I calculate the 0-cent margin price to be around $3.80, and with $3.92 being the lowest price in town, I predict lower prices still. — Ed Aboufadel

Updated: May 18, 2011 — 6:22 am

18 Comments

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  1. Diether Haenicke

    Here are some interesting recent articles about gas stations:

    MAY 16 – $1.10-a-gallon gas mistake costs Wilmington, California station owner $21,000 – http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_18075847

    MAY 17 – Circle K on Portage St. in Kalamazoo sells winning $27 million Mega Millions ticket – http://www.wwmt.com/articles/local-1391032-mega-mich.html

    MAY 11 – California Thieves Hack a Gas Pump, Steal 528 Gallons of $4.28 Gas – http://techland.time.com/2011/05/11/hackers-tap-a-california-gas-pump-make-off-with-528-gallons/

    Gasoline futures are currently up 4.81¢ to $2.9674, and are above the Chicago spot market price ($2.9318) for the first time in a while. Most commodity futures are up right now, including silver, which is up 3.68% to $34.725 per ounce.

    AAA’s Michigan average retail price this morning is $4.037 while GasBuddy has $3.994.

    Retail gas prices have really dropped in Honolulu, HI. For a while, they had the second highest average prices in the nation after Chicago (which is still number 1). Yesterday, Honolulu’s average dropped 8.3¢ to make it 16th highest in the nation. There are now only 8 states plus Washington, D.C. with averages above $4.

  2. It looks like some stations are going back up over $4.00 again, what’s up with that???!!!

  3. Rockford was still over $4.00 this morning – I predict prices falling till right befoe the holiday weekend when they jack them up again [but they say they really don’t do that] – BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  4. Diether Haenicke

    Being a much larger city, the lowest gas prices in Grand Rapids are almost always lower than the lowest in Kalamazoo. For the moment, that is not even remotely true. The lowest gas prices in Kalamazoo are 10¢ lower than the lowest in Grand Rapids.

    Further, the lowest prices in Grand Rapids are $3.899 on 44th St. SE in Kentwood. In Kalamazoo, Portage, Parchment, Richland, Mattawan, Paw Paw, and Lawton there are at least 58 locations to get gas between $3.799 and $3.899.

    Here are GasBuddy/AAA average prices:

    $-.—/$4.013 – Benton Harbor
    $3.968/$4.003 – Grand Rapids
    $3.947/$3.968 – Lansing
    $3.944/$3.995 – Michigan
    $3.909/$3.955 – Indiana
    $3.908/$-.— – Kalamazoo
    $3.873/$3.905 – USA

    At this rate, Michigan will be below the national average soon for the first time in a while.

    The current lowest prices in the state are $3.639 on Schoolcraft St. in Detroit. That BP in Romulus still has the highest reported price in the state: $4.299.

    Gasoline futures seem to have found a bottom in the $2.90 range, currently at $2.9065. The big commodity mover today was sugar, down 4.51%.

    If there is a need for prices to go up around Memorial Day, I expect it would occur on the Tuesday before the weekend, May 24. I have noticed Speedway specifically avoids going up right before the major holidays and will either do it well in advance (Tuesday, May 24) or the first business day after (Tuesday, May 31).

  5. So my question, when gas prices go up and people complain to the gas station owners about the prices, which has been widely reported that they do, and the owners say “it’s not them,” I get that – BUT, gas prices are now 10 cents lower than any place in Grand Rapids and the owners say they are not ripping people off???? SERIOUSLY???? BS!!! Just like when the price of oil goes up, they throw the price per gallon up instantly, oil prices PLUNGE [I believe was the word used] and the gas prices do not come down more than 1 or 2 cents at a time – it’s pure politics and games, plain and simple and the people are the ones paying the price. You can’t tell me the gas station owners are not making money. I’m not blaming anybody who posts here, BTW, I’m just saying, the American people are getting raped over this plain and simple. I don’t know why they don’t just call it what it is instead of making up all the BS excuses.

  6. independent retailer

    Sam,
    Let me give you an example: My average margin on gas is 10 cents per gallon. If you buy $10.00 worth of gas with cash (only about 25% do) I would make .25 cents. Now you you used a debit card I pay 1.6% +.20 cents per transaction in fees. That means on this example I lost .12 cents. This is an example of my lowest cost card to take. Am Express and reward cards are 2-3% + 20-30 cents per transaction. So you play with the math and let me know how much I am making. And before you bring it up, with prices this high the majority of people only get 10-20 dollars worth at a time.

  7. @ independent retailer – well, you will be happy to know that I am a cash kind of person and when I get gas, I fill it up [currently sitting at just below 1/4 tank]. But, I also have to say that since gas where I live is currently at the highest price in Grand Rapids, I’ll not be buying gas there – instead, I’ll be driving to the SE side of town as I have several errands that need to be done over there and while I’m at it, I’ll be filling up for $3.83 at Meijer, thereby killing 2 birds with 1 stone, getting my errands done and getting gas cheaper than by home. Now it may only be a few bucks to some people, but you add up all those few bucks over time [every week to 2 weeks, depending on fill-ups, for me it’s 2 weeks] and it’s money in MY pocket. Since I’m not going out of my way – I have to be there anyway – it makes sense. Since gas went to $4+ dollars, twice I’ve paid $4.03 to fill up before the price came back down. In these economic times, I guess a lot of us our looking out for our bottom lines. While it certainly is nice that all these “cards” are accepted everywhere, I do think it’s totally not fare that you have to pay to be able to afford your customers the convenience. I think we all need to go back to simpler times and just pay cash for things as it sure would keep people from spending money they don’t have and it would put more in your pocket so maybe you could pass the savings in price per gallon on to your clients quicker. Thankfully, in this economic downturn, we did not suffer because we tend to do things the old school way – no money, no playing – got money, put it in the gas tank of the bike and ride as loooooooooong as you can. All that being said, most of the reasons the “powers that be” are selling us as to WHY the gas prices are as high as they are, are still BS!!! They’ve already said the middle east really has no bearing on it and that there is plenty of oil soooooooooooooo . . . . speculation abounds for no good reason – IMHO!!

  8. Diether Haenicke

    Retail prices in Kalamazoo have dropped 30.2¢ (7.3% from $4.099 to $3.799) since last Sunday to an average of $3.800. At this point, I’m not expecting a pre-Memorial weekend increase. At the moment, I expect a reset to occur on Tuesday, May 31, by which time some prices may have fallen below $3.599.

    There are currently at least 69 locations in the Kalamazoo area to buy for $3.749 to $3.799. Strongly contrast this with the much larger Grand Rapids metro area, where the lowest price is $3.829 in Hudsonville and the metro average is still 10 cents higher at $3.906. It is further notable that the lowest price in Grand Rapids is higher than the average for Kalamazoo.

    Here are other current metro averages:

    $4.302 – Chicago (15.7¢) – still the highest in the nation, by 4.6¢
    $3.906 – Grand Rapids (20¢)
    $3.894 – Gary (18.4¢)
    $3.875 – Ann Arbor (25¢)
    $3.861 – Lansing (18.5¢)
    $3.859 – Michigan (22.5¢)
    $3.847 – South Bend (23.1¢)
    $3.834 – USA (9.7¢)
    $3.813 – Detroit (22.5¢)
    $3.810 – Indiana (24.7¢)
    $3.800 – Kalamazoo (30.2¢ average decrease)
    $3.766 – Flint (27.3¢)
    $3.738 – Fort Wayne (28.8¢)

    It is notable that 3 stations in West Michigan at the Indiana border have among the lowest prices in the state:

    $3.609 and $3.649 in New Buffalo and $3.639 at the Speedway in Three Oaks on U.S. 12.

    Typically, Detroit and Flint dominate the lowest prices and there are never any stations from the west side of the state.

    There are also good prices way up in Traverse City, with $3.739-$3.749 at 24 of 26 locations reported.

    Gasoline futures remained in the $2.90s all last week, settling on Friday at $2.9358.

    In Southwest Michigan, Speedway kerosene remains $4.399 (except $4.499 in Berrien Springs, Schoolcraft, and $4.599 in White Pigeon) and diesel is $3.919 to $4.199. The lowest Speedway diesel in Kalamazoo is $3.999 at two locations on Gull Rd.

  9. Diether Haenicke

    While most places continue to see decreases in retail gas prices, here are a few that have registered double digit increases over the past 24 hours (probably occurred this morning rather than yesterday):

    ***** STATES *****

    +14.2¢ Illinois to $4.232 (AAA $4.086)

    +13.4¢ Mississippi to $3.788 (AAA $3.656)

    +10.2¢ South Dakota to $3.916 (AAA $3.856)

    These state increases must be occurring in the smaller towns, as these are the largest metro area increases in those states:

    Illinois +0.9¢ in Rockford

    Mississippi +1.8¢ in Jackson

    ***** CITIES *****

    +14¢ Santa Fe, NM to $3.649 (AAA $3.710) (while state down 3.6¢ to $3.649)

    +12.6¢ Santa Barbara, CA to $4.282 (AAA $4.169) (while state down 1.7¢ to $4.093)

    ***** MICHIGAN *****

    +8¢ Flint, MI to $3.851 (AAA $3.778) (while state down 2.1¢ to $3.844)

    +1¢ Lansing, MI to $3.886 (AAA $3.868)

    GasBuddy has a current national average of $3.836 while AAA has $3.843.

    Gasoline futures dipped below $2.90 this morning, but are currently at $2.9110. The U.S. dollar is stronger today against the €, £, ¥, Canadian $, Australian $ (1.2055%), and Swiss Franc.

    One U.S. Dollar currently buys 97.42¢ Canadian.

  10. Diether Haenicke

    On May 19 I wrote:

    “If there is a need for prices to go up around Memorial Day, I expect it would occur on the Tuesday before the weekend, May 24.”

    It seems Exxon-Mobile read what I wrote and used it as an excuse to have a problem at their Joliet, Illinois refinery today. The Chicago spot price went up 15.73¢ today. This means I expect prices to increase tomorrow in West Michigan to as high as $3.999.

    Get your gas now in Grand Rapids for as low as $3.769 in the 44th St. SE area of Kentwood. The current Grand Rapids metro average is $3.887.

    In Kalamazoo, get gas now for as low as $3.729 (cash only) or $3.739 on Westnedge Ave. and Portage Rd. Kalamazoo metro average is currently $3.784. It’s interesting how that 10¢ average difference has been maintained.

    Here are other current metro averages:

    $3.887 Grand Rapids
    $3.871 Ann Arbor
    $3.846 Gary
    $3.841 Lansing
    $3.839 Michigan
    $3.799 South Bend
    $3.796 Detroit
    $3.784 Kalamazoo
    $3.778 Indiana
    $3.746 Flint
    $3.717 Fort Wayne

  11. Diether Haenicke

    Here’s an update on the Attorney General of Kentucky going after Marathon/Speedway for their wholesale pricing:

    May 20, 2011 – Economists weigh in at Marathon Oil hearing – http://richmondregister.com/localnews/x832130590/Economists-weigh-in-at-Marathon-Oil-hearing

  12. 11:51 a.m. – Speedway hasn’t made a move, yet.

    Gasoline futures are back above $3, currently $3.0046.

    The U.S. Dollar is weaker against the €, £, Australian $, Canadian $, Swiss Franc, but stronger against the ¥.

    Brent crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, and West Texas Intermediate oil are all up at least 2%.

    Silver is up 3.81% to $36.235.

    All major commodities are up, except natural gas, corn, 2 kinds of wheat, and lean hogs.

  13. 1:48 p.m.

    Speedway has yet to move up and in fact has gone down about 2¢ at some locations in Kalamazoo.

    However, about one hour ago an owner of a chain of stations in the Flint area said he expected an increase to $3.959 to $4.159. I don’t know if he means this increase will occur this afternoon or tomorrow, but he gives it an 80% chance of happening.

    The lowest price in Kalamazoo now is $3.719 on S. Westnedge Ave. with a metro average of $3.776.

    In Grand Rapids, the lowest price is $3.759 in Kentwood on 44th St. at Eastern Ave. with a metro average of $3.871, 9.5¢ higher than Kalamazoo.

  14. Diether Haenicke

    2:28 p.m.

    Nothing yet.

    Seems the Chicago spot is now up 40¢.

  15. Diether Haenicke

    8:29 a.m. Wednesday

    No move from Speedway, yet. GasBuddy has sent out a warning and WWMT TV-3 reported that warning this morning.

    The lowest price currently available in Kalamazoo is $3.719 at the usual 6 stations (Admiral, Meijer, and 4 Speedway/Rich) in the S. Westnedge Ave. area. The metro average is $3.768.

    In Grand Rapids, the lowest price is $3.719 at the Admiral on 28th St. at Division Ave. The second lowest price is $3.759 at the usual hotspot of 44th St. and Eastern Ave. SE in Kentwood. The metro average is $3.849 with $3.860 from AAA.

    Other averages (note that Michigan has temporarily fallen below USA average):

    $3.862 Ann Arbor
    $3.849 Grand Rapids
    $3.807 USA
    $3.803 Michigan
    $3.778 Detroit
    $3.775 Lansing
    $3.768 Kalamazoo
    $3.707 Flint

    Gasoline futures settled yesterday at $2.9928.

  16. Diether Haenicke

    9:37 a.m. Wednesday

    Since I watch gas prices so closely when I’m expecting an increase is imminent, I’ve noticed repeatedly that the BP on Oakland Dr. and and Centre St. in Portage (Kalamazoo area) drops its price to the lowest in town in the few hours before Speedway leads the charge up. It has done so this morning, dropping to $3.679.

    I’ve also noticed some stations do in fact raise their prices before Speedway, just not to the top price Speedway goes to. This has already occurred this morning, as the Cork Valley Shell (Cork St. at Burdick St.) in Kalamazoo has raised its price to $3.999. The previous top price in town (when I made my prior post) was $3.819. Smaller increases are already being reflected in the metro average, up since my last post to $3.772 from $3.768. So, other stations do go up before Speedway, just not to prices people typically notice.

    While writing this post, Crossroads Shell (Westnedge at Romence, Portage) went up to $3.969.

  17. 11:13 a.m. Wednesday

    Speedway has finally made their move. They moved a little earlier today, shortly before 10:07 a.m. By their normal time of 10:30 a.m., 7 stations were already reported at $3.999.

    That’s the price I originally expected on Monday. Depending on what the market does today, we might or might not see another increase tomorrow.

    New York gasoline June futures are currently down exactly 3¢ from yesterday to $2.9628.

    The U.S. Dollar is currently mixed, stronger against 4 foreign currencies (0.34% against Australian $) and weaker against 2 (0.6177% against £).

    All major commodities, except gasoline and West Texas oil, are currently up. Silver is up the most, 3.38% to $37.35 per troy ounce.

  18. 11:41 a.m. Wednesday

    Seems the Chicago spot is now down 25¢, which would mean no additional increase tomorrow.

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