Will gas prices be affected by debt limit politics?

Comment on the July 18 prediction:  On July 19, prices rose (for the most part) to $3.79, as predicted.  While that prediction was CORRECT, it didn’t stick in some places, and prices were in the $3.50’s in areas of Grand Rapids the next day.  On Friday, you could buy gas for $3.41 in Lansing.

Monday, July 25, 2011, 8:45PM:  President Obama will speak in a few minutes about the debt ceiling mess in Washington.  Speaker Boehner will follow.  Will any of what they say affect gas prices in the next few days?  I don’t know.  We are in a situation where stock, metals, and energy markets could go berserk either up or down, depending on what Congress does this week.  Or not.  What I do know is that we have the exact set up that we had a week ago:  wholesale prices around $3 a gallon, 0-cent margin price around $3.59, most prices near or below $3.59, so a hike back to $3.79 would be the obvious prediction.  I’ll make that prediction and I recommend filling up Tuesday morning before the hike, but, you know, the next three weeks could be really crazy when it comes to gas prices.  Or not. –Ed Aboufadel.

Updated: July 25, 2011 — 7:45 pm

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  1. My written expectation a week ago that Speedway would increase prices today (Tuesday) has proven true. My price prediction of last night was also correct. Speedway stations in Michigan were reported going up to $3.859 beginning 9:47 a.m. in Flint. The second report was at 9:49 a.m. on Gull Rd. at G Ave. in Comstock Township (Kalamazoo). The third report was at 10:15 a.m. in Rockwood.

    In the last 8 hours, here are the only Meijer stations in Michigan reported at or above $3.799:

    $3.799 at 10:00 a.m. in Royal Oak
    $3.839 at 8:46 a.m. in Petoskey

    Some stations in the Kalamazoo area may have anticipated the increase. I know for certain there were none in Kalamazoo/Portage reported above $3.699 last night. This morning, I see these:

    $3.729 at 7:02 a.m. at Citgo on E. Main St. in Kalamazoo Township
    $3.729 at 6:31 p.m. at Clark on S. Westnedge Ave. in city of Portage

  2. Like usual, the first Speedway reports out of Grand Rapids weren’t until an hour later then everywhere else in west Michigan, in Wyoming at 11:08 a.m.

    As of now (11:25 a.m.), no Meijer stores in Michigan have matched Speedway’s price. Last week, most Meijer stations weren’t reported up until 3:00.

  3. Many Speedway stations in the past hour in the Grand Rapids area are still being reported below $3.859:

    $3.649 12:47 p.m. on Alpine in Walker
    $3.599 12:15 p.m. on 28th St. in Kentwood
    $3.599 12:40 p.m. on Cascade Rd. in Grand Rapids
    $3.589 12:13 p.m. at 4096 Plainfield Ave. in Grand Rapids
    $3.569 12:14 p.m. at 3210 Plainfield Ave. in Grand Rapids
    $3.549 12:48 p.m. on Chicago Dr. in Grandville
    $3.549 12:48 p.m. on Baldwin St. in Jenison
    $3.479 12:41 p.m. on Eastern Ave. in Kentwood

    These prices are confirmed on Speedway’s website, with only these locations being reported at or anywhere near $3.859:

    Wyoming, 3605 Burlingame
    Wyoming, 4390 Byron Center Rd.
    Wyoming, 2360 28th St.
    Wyoming, 1300 Burton St. SW
    Kentwood, 5173 Broadmoor Ave. SE
    Grand Rapids, 1212 Michigan
    Grand Rapids, 1533 Leonard

    Only 1 non-Speedway station in the Grand Rapids metro area so far is reported up to $3.859, a Marathon at 3980 44th St. SW in Grandville as of 1:14 p.m. The Meijer in Wyoming on Clyde Park Ave. SW went up to $3.799 as of 1:03.

    Only 3 Meijer stations in Michigan so far are reported up to $3.859:

    11:29 a.m. Comstock Township (Kalamazoo), Gull Rd.
    12:00 p.m. Rochester Hills
    1:02 p.m. Royal Oak

    The Gull Rd. Meijer was also the first station in the Kalamazoo area reported to have matched Speedway’s price. There are now 5 stations in the Kalamazoo area having matched the Speedway price.

    The Admiral stations in Portage ($3.579) and Plainwell (2 locations, $3.549) are freshly reported at those prices. It will be interesting to see how long Admiral holds at those prices.

  4. Here are the Meijer Michigan times after Royal Oak:

    1:57 White Lake
    2:04 Okemos
    2:28 Northville
    2:29 Adrian
    2:56 Jackson, E. Michigan Ave.
    3:01 Ypsilanti
    3:10 Flint – SW
    3:14 Sterling Heights
    3:15 Benton Harbor
    3:33 Grand Rapids, E. Beltline Ave.
    3:34 Warren
    3:35 Traverse City
    3:40 Mount Pleasant
    3:40 Portage
    3:49 Waterford
    3:54 Norton Shores
    4:09 Plainwell
    4:14 Holland
    4:20 Coldwater
    4:26 Battle Creek, W. Columbia Ave.
    4:29 Three Rivers
    4:33 Jackson, Airport Rd.
    4:45 Oshtemo Township (Kalamazoo)
    4:49 Charlotte
    4:57 Woodhaven
    5:01 Monroe
    5:04 Roseville
    5:06 Marysville
    5:06 Canton

    So, only 3 Meijer stations in Michigan were reported as having gone up to $3.859 before 1:30.

    Note that there is only 1 Grand Rapids area Meijer on that list. Something is keeping the prices down all across Grand Rapids. In the last 2 hours, prices for 16 Speedway stations in the Grand Rapids area have been reported. Only 3 stations are reported at $3.859 (2 in Wyoming and 1 in Allendale). The remaining 13 stations are reported at $3.399 to $3.649, with no single price being available at more than 2 stations.

    The same thing is seen with the Meijer stations in the Grand Rapids area. Five stations have been reported within the last 2 hours. Four of them are $3.569 to $3.659.

    Meanwhile, all the prices in the Kalamazoo area reported within the past 4 hours are $3.699 or above, except for the Admiral in Portage, still at $3.579 as of 4:31 p.m.

  5. The three greater Kalamazoo area Admiral stations have finally given up their loss leading of the past 8-10 days and have gone up to Speedway’s $3.859:

    5:29 p.m. Plainwell, 1149 M-89
    5:40 p.m. Portage
    6:02 p.m. Plainwell, 665 Allegan St.

    The lowest price reported in the last 4 hours in the Kalamazoo area is $3.829, so there were no hold outs on this price increase. The Kalamazoo average is currently an artificially low $3.817, because there are outlying stations that have not been updated in over 12 hours. Even with the artificially low average, the average is up 14.1¢ since yesterday. In the S. Westnedge Ave. area, the actual increase was 28¢.

    In Grand Rapids, much lower prices persist (as reported within the last 4 hours):

    $3.399 2 stations near 44th & Eastern in Kentwood
    $3.479 3 stations in Cedar Springs
    $3.499 at the original Meijer “Thrifty Acres” location
    $3.529 to $3.579 at 7 locations, 4 of which are Meijer stores

    The Grand Rapids average is up 7.9¢ over the past 24 hours to $3.696.

    The Michigan average is up 5.7¢ over the past 24 hours to $3.784.

    The 2 Admirals that had been giving Sturgis the state’s lowest gas prices yesterday ($3.249) went up to $3.679 today, a 43¢ increase.

  6. Meijer did not send out an alert yesterday by text message, Twitter, or Facebook. This is the second consecutive increase where Meijer has not sent a text message alert. This is the fourth consecutive increase where Meijer has not sent an alert by Twitter or Facebook. Meijer has not sent an alert by Twitter or Facebook since 11:14 a.m. Thursday, June 30.

  7. Yesterday, Tuesday, Fort Wayne’s stations started their climb to $3.79 starting with Speedway on Illinois Rd. But today, the intersection of Sherman Bl, and State Bl, in Fort Wayne is very interesting. Wed morning, the Speedway was reported to be $3.79, and still shows that. At lunch time, both the Circle K/Shell and the Scotts/Kroger were holding firm on $3.61. This also has apparently forced Sams Club to hold at $3.61 also.

  8. Tropical Storm Don is forecast to hit the southern coast of Texas at 1 a.m. Saturday:

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at4+shtml/100013.shtml?3-daynl?large#contents

    New York gasoline futures are up 2.41¢ so far today to $3.1664.

  9. Recent history says to expect prices in west Michigan to drop another 3¢ Monday (at some stations, not the average price) and reset to $3.859 or $3.899 Tuesday morning. It looks like the federal debt ceiling problem will be resolved. New York gasoline futures settlement prices varied only 4¢ over the past week. There are no hurricanes or tropical storms threatening the Gulf of Mexico right now: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

    All prices reported in the Kalamazoo/Plainwell/Paw Paw area are $3.699 to $3.799, except $3.689 at both stations in Parchment and the BP in Richland. Speedway’s website reports $3.859 in Bangor and $3.679 in Sturgis and Niles, both right on the Indiana border. The Kalamazoo average is $3.751.

    In greater Grand Rapids, 4 stations have been reported still at $3.859 in the past 24 hours with 3 of those stations being in Byron Center. $3.639 is the lowest of the normal prices, all available at 6 locations on Plainfield Ave., including Admiral, Meijer, and 2 Speedways. Then there is a big gap for the lowest price, $3.559-$3.569 at 4 locations in Sparta, where of course there is an Admiral station in the mix. Among the 14 lowest prices in Grand Rapids, 3 of them are at Admiral stations. The Grand Rapids average is $3.728.

    Those Sparta prices turn out to be the lowest in the state. After Sparta, the next lowest price in Michigan is $3.599 in Waterford and Flint northeast. Among the 10 lowest prices in the state, there 5 are at Admiral stations. The Michigan average is $3.788.

    Prices in Fort Wayne, Indiana are identical to Kalamazoo (in range, if not average), with almost every station between $3.699 and $3.799, except for 4 stations at $3.689. I don’t count the 1 Sam’s Club at $3.679 because a membership or 10% up-charge is required to purchase there, as far as I know. The Fort Wayne average is $3.739.

  10. Now that the debt ceiling crisis has been resolved, New York gasoline futures are up today 6.21¢ to $3.12, more than the entire 4¢ range they traded between last week.

  11. Today ends a streak of 5 consecutive Tuesdays when Speedway raised prices in Michigan, whether needed or not (June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26). Now we can go back to the traditional Thursday for price resets, at least for this week.

    In Kalamazoo, the Marathon in Parchment has taken over as the low gas price leader for the past few days. It lowered to $3.599 this morning. The second lowest price in Kalamazoo is the Circle K/BP near the airport at $3.659. The high end continues to be $3.799, but only at the stations in the outlying areas. The average is $3.720.

    In Grand Rapids, Sparta continues to lead the state with the lowest prices of $3.539-$3.549. Kent City ($3.559) and Kentwood ($3.589) also appear among the lowest 15 in the state. The Grand Rapids average is $3.709.

    Other averages:

    $3.771 Michigan
    $3.705 Fort Wayne, Indiana
    $3.699 USA
    $3.653 Cincinnati, Ohio
    $3.610 Toledo, Ohio (lowest in the Great Lakes)

    There must be a fuel surplus in the west and southwest, because Arizona ($3.322), Wyoming ($3.477), Colorado ($3.486), Utah ($3.491), Nevada, New Mexico, and Oklahoma are among the 10 lowest states. Note that Arizona’s average is 15.5¢ lower than Wyoming. Tucson ($3.297) and Phoenix ($3.302) have the lowest prices in the nation, with Phoenix being 13.2¢ lower than the third lowest city, Fort Collins, Colorado ($3.434). This surplus has affected California, which now has the 10th highest prices in the nation ($3.789) instead of their traditional 3rd highest ranking. Connecticut has taken California’s slot, currently second highest (above Alaska) with a $4.044 average.

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