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  1. While Bangor has the highest regular unleaded gasoline (E-10) price at a southwest Michigan Speedway ($3.439), they also have the lowest price for kerosene ($4.299). The only other Speedway in southwest Michigan that sells kerosene that low is White Pigeon. All other Speedways in southwest Michigan sell kerosene for $4.399, $4.499, or $4.599.

    White Pigeon ($2.869) and Schoolcraft ($2.899) are the only southwest Michigan Speedways selling E-85. At $2.869, that is approximately the equivalent of paying $3.825 for E-10, because E-85 has less energy content (i.e. you get fewer miles per gallon). The national average for E-85, according to AAA, is $3.106, a BTU adjusted price of $4.087.

    The second highest E-10 price at a Speedway in southwest Michigan is $3.429 in Bridgman.

    The lowest E-10 price at a Speedway in southwest Michigan is $3.209 in Parchment, a tiny (1,804 pop.) city bordering on Kalamazoo’s northeast. Parchment has already lost their pharmacy, disbanded their police department (now contracts with Kalamazoo Township), and is on the list of locations to lose their post office within the year. Both in geography and population, Parchment is smaller than many neighborhoods within the city of Kalamazoo.

  2. Kokomo Indiana jumped today (Friday) from $3.08 to $3.49 for regular unleaded (E10).. The few stations have not made the increase have very long lines.

  3. Today’s Chicago spot closed up 8.94¢ (3.55%) to $2.6065.

    The lowest retail price in the Kalamazoo area remains $3.199, but at more locations.

  4. Speedway took the plunge this morning. $349.9.

    I filled up at a local Sunoco this AM for $312.9.

  5. 8:57 a.m. Saturday

    $ 3 . 4 9 9 on a Saturday.

    Only 8 days ago I posted about gas prices going up on the weekend: http://www.thegasgame.com/2012/01/31/spike-line-warning-13112/#comment-3487

    I said it was rare, but that we were entering the season when it most typically happens, though I said that season begins in early March. I guess our early spring weather also applies to Speedway this season. As far as I am aware, this is our first weekend (Saturday or Sunday) increase since last spring.

    My first notice of today’s increase was when I observed in on a Speedway electronic price sign in Kalamazoo about 7:15 this morning. As of about 7:15 last night, that station was $3.219.

    As of about 8:10 this morning, the next nearest Speedway, with a manual price sign, was still at $3.219. As of about 8:20 this morning, the second nearest Speedway, with a manual price sign, was up to $3.499. Since the nearest Speedway was still at $3.219 this morning, I think it is safe to say the increase began this morning (not last night or overnight), possibly at 7 a.m. There is no “typical” time, like 10 a.m., for a weekend increase, because they are so rare.

    As of 8:45 this morning, this new price was reflected on Speedway’s website for all southwest Michigan locations, including Sturgis, which often does not participate in the system wide resets. THIS WAS A TRUE SYSTEM WIDE RESET. According to Speedway’s website, 100% of locations in west Michigan (zip codes 49001 to 49999) have gone up to $3.499. Typically, there are a good number of locations that do not go up, as I have posted specific locations previously. The locations that do not normally participate often have an Admiral station nearby, as is the case with Sturgis, which has 2 Admirals and 1 Speedway.

    The earliest Gas Buddy report for Kalamazoo was 8:23 a.m., about an hour after I personally observed the higher price. My observations did not show any competitors at the higher price yet, but apparently the BP on Sprinkle Road had matched the new price as of 8:23 this morning.

    The Gas Buddy average for Kalamazoo currently stands at $3.261, up from $3.244 yesterday. The USA average is $3.505, the same as yesterday and up from $3.342 a month ago and $3.162 a year ago. The lowest retail price in Kalamazoo, for the moment, remains the $3.199 it was yesterday.

    The earliest Gas Buddy report for Grand Rapids was at 8:03 a.m. The first competitor reported as having matched the price was Meijer in Jenison at 8:15 a.m. The Grand Rapids average is currently $3.282, up from $3.238 yesterday.

    The Michigan average is currently $3.314, up from $3.304 yesterday.

    A price increase is also being reported in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati, with $3.499 being the price in all those areas.

    The Michigan spike line is currently $3.26723. That makes this a 23.177¢ increase over the spike line, which is about what we typically see.

    Note that the yesterday’s Michigan average was $3.304, 3.677¢ ABOVE yesterday’s spike line. This was about the situation last week. A week ago Thursday evening, the Michigan average was 6.3192¢ above the spike line and I suggested Speedway would go up that Friday. They did not go up that Friday or last weekend. However, you see my prediction was not totally off base, that Speedway does increase the price when the state average is above the spike line, as they have done today.

  6. Diether,

    take my comment with a grain of salt. I am no expert, simply an observer. zzzzzzzi wemt to breakfsast with a friend ano on the way home noticed the
    Speedway prices.
    icreasease. Within a few hours others had followed their lead. Makes me feel good I bought Esraarly this mornimg wjile prices were still low.

    I don’t do business with speedway because of their propensity .
    tyo raise prices propsenim to raise prices without cause. Just call i corporate greed.

  7. It’s kind of a matter of opinion. You, as do most people, see it as Speedway “always” raising prices first. I see it as other stations waiting for Speedway’s lead.

    Further, it is not true that Speedway “always” raises prices first. A prime example occurred last year in late September thru early October. Read what we wrote at the time at http://www.thegasgame.com/2011/09/27/the-eu-will-have-stimulus-markets-are-up/ and the article that follows it “For drivers, September was awesome!” I can’t post a second URL, because then it would require moderator approval for this comment to post. While Speedway resets are typically 20-25¢ above the spike line, the reset that finally occurred on October 5, 2011 was only 9.5234¢.

    I guess we concluded the reason Speedway waited so long was because they were oversupplied. In addition, TimmP wrote:

    “I work with a person that used to have a Speedway in the family. She told me something that may explain why prices did not go up today, and are waiting for another day this week, or possibly even Saturday. The stations must meet a quota of X gallons per month in sales/delivery, and if they are under quota, may need to pay a premium on every gallon, which in most cases is worse than selling the gas for a few cents below margin. Being the end of the month, and a slow sales month, many stations may be trying to reach their quota. Maybe?”

    Speedway is the only retailer around here to do us the courtesy of providing current gas prices on their website. Now, that may be in part to tip off their competitors that they have raised their prices, but still the website prices are a plus in my book. I have purchased hundreds or thousands of gallons of gasoline from Speedway and have no problem with them.

    You wrote “I don’t do business with speedway because of their propensity .
    tyo raise prices propsenim to raise prices without cause.”

    Speedway’s resets are almost always legitimate, based on the Chicago spot market. That is why we can usually predict when they are going to go up (except for the weekend), because we follow the Chicago market for immediate delivery gasoline. We didn’t predict an increase for this weekend because Speedway typically does not go up on the weekend, based on following their practices since 2000. Based on Friday’s close in the Chicago spot, their increase yesterday was totally legitimate and inline with their normal increases (20-25¢).

  8. The typical Speedway price reset these days is 29 to 39 cents a gallon. That would correspond to 10% or more price swings at the Chicago market, which, of course, rarely happen.

    We can rationalize the legitimacy of such business practices all we want, but the fact is that plenty of gas stations and gas wholesalers and suppliers outside the Speedway states seem to be doing just fine with more consumer friendly (perceived or real) moderate price adjustments as the market goes up and down.

  9. When I said Speedway’s price increases are typically 20–25¢, I meant over the spike line. Their retail increases are typically 20–40¢. Here are their resets this year in Kalamazoo:

    * SAT FEB 18, 20–30¢ to $3.499
    * THU FEB 2, 20–37¢ to $3.599
    * WED JAN 11, 20–33¢ to $3.699

    There should be more dates, so maybe later I’ll go back through this blog and list all the increases for this year.

    On Wednesday, January 4, I predicted prices would increase to $3.999 on Thursday, March 15. I’ll probably be wrong on that prediction, but what fun is it if you don’t make a specific, long range prediction from time to time? These predictions like “prices will go up in the next 72 hours” are way too broad to be useful or even risky for the person making the prediction. That is like Nostradamus, making predictions that are really broad and subject to interpretation, so you’ll always be right.

    The percentage change in the Chicago spot is always going to be smaller than Speedway’s resets. The Chicago percentages are just for that day, while Speedway’s are an accumulation for about 5–10 days. I guess we could always save the daily percentage changes in the Chicago spot, add them up, and compare to the Speedway increase for that week.

    As far as “The Speedway Effect,” it would be interesting to know if any other retailer in the nation owns as large a share of their market as Speedway does. As Patrick reported on February 9, Speedway is purchasing 88 GasAmerica stations in Indiana and Ohio. That will certainly increase “The Speedway Effect” in those states. West Michigan is probably the region with the strongest “Speedway Effect,” so it is not surprising that this blog is based in this area, specifically Grand Rapids.

  10. Stupid question/suggestion. Would it be possible to have a running 60 day graph of the CBT spot prices of wholesale gasoline in the Spikeline (or anyplace) on this site? The price of crude on Gas Buddy is only kind of useful, and since CBT spot gasoline is more applicable to Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, it may be a better fit on this site.

  11. That is not a stupid suggestion at all. You can find the raw data for that at http://www.thegasgame.com/features/today-in-oil/

    That lists the last 48 business days, with some days missing when The Spike Line is not updated by Ed or Bill (often on Fridays). Further, the prices are not always the ones I would use. I would always use each day’s closing or settlement prices. Some of the prices on that chart are mid-day quotes.

    Here are the titles in “Today in Oil” and what they mean:

    NYMEX RBOB – The front month futures contract for New York Mercantile Exchange wholesale reformulated non-oxygenated regular gasoline blendstock for blending with 10% denatured fuel ethanol (92% purity), based on delivery at petroleum products terminals in New York Harbor.

    NYMEX WTI Crude – The front month futures contract for domestic (U.S.) light sweet grade crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma.

    NYMEX Heating oil – The front month futures contract for New York Mercantile Exchange #2 fuel oil, based on delivery in New York harbor.

    Chicago Spot – Chicago Board of Trade price for immediate delivery wholesale regular gasoline to Michigan’s lower peninsula, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and the southern tip of Wisconsin.

    Group 3 – This is the immediate delivery price for Michigan’s upper peninsula, Wisconsin, west to the Rocky Mountains, and south to the southern border of Oklahoma. This is basically the “mid-west” price, minus most of the Great Lakes.

    Low Sulfur Diesel (Chicago) – Usually abbreviated ULS, for ultra-low sulfur diesel.

    NYMEX RBOB for March is currently $3.055, up 3.94¢ today. NYMEX RBOB for April is currently $3.2165. I don’t have a current price for Chicago spot, because Bloomberg is still showing Friday’s price: $2.6065. That is a 44.85¢ discount to NYMEX March and 61¢ to NYMEX April. If Chicago spot was currently NYMEX April, our retail gas prices would have gone up on Saturday to $4.099 or $4.159. Retail prices in that range and higher should be here next month, which would be in line with my prediction of $3.999 on Thursday, March 15.

    Patrick reports there was a major refinery fire Friday night at a BP Arco facility near Blaine, Washington. This will cause west coast prices to go even higher for a while.

  12. Here is a map that shows the 5 gasoline markets in the U.S.:

    http://images.gasbuddy.com/images/blogimages/20100920120936gbPADD.png

  13. We can think of the ‘Speedway Effect’ from a psychological rather than economical point of view. Between the effect and the very successful zone pricing schemes we see deployed here in Central Indiana, consumers generally have no idea what the ‘real’ price is and may tend to fill in more often to take advantage of ‘lower prices’. This results in more visits to gas stations, and likely, more opportunity to sell non-fuel related stuff. Not a bad strategy if you’re a gas station operator.

    To people who plan their fuel purchases carefully, the Speedway Effect is but a nuisance. But I find the long term implications of getting the consumer ‘used’ to such ‘volatility’ where none exists in reality are very alarming.

  14. At mid-day, the Chicago spot is up 12.97¢ (4.98%) to $2.7362.

    Using last week’s rack adjustment, this makes the Michigan Spike Line $3.404712. The Michigan average is $3.450, 4.5288¢ above the Spike Line. The national average is $3.533.

    This would make us due for another increase tomorrow or Thursday to $3.599 or $3.659.

    New York March gasoline futures are currently up 5.74¢ to $3.073. New York April gasoline futures are currently up 6.54¢ to $3.253.

    New York WTI crude oil is currently up $2.60 to $105.84, with December futures the highest at $107.41.

    The Kalamazoo retail average is $3.469 with $3.359 the lowest price at two locations on Gull Rd.

    The Grand Rapids retail average is $3.455 with two stations reported at $3.299 in Rockford.

    *****

    Turbo46032 (Carmel, Indiana) proposes an interesting hypothesis: that the constant retail lowering of gas prices (between resets) is a method to drive traffic to high-margin convenience stores. If any college economics students come across this site, there’s a thesis topic for you. However, Speedway doesn’t lower their prices a whole lot in areas where competition does not force them to. Over time, I can establish which station in an area is the low price leader, and it has never been Speedway. On the west side of Kalamazoo, the Shell stations are the low price leader. Near the Kalamazoo airport, the BP north of I-94 is the low price leader. Near Westnedge and I-94, Admiral is the low price leader. When that Admiral lowers its price, it causes 3 Speedways, 1 Rich, and Meijer to match the price. Rich is owned by Speedway and is always at the same price and operates as part of a pricing group with the nearby 3 Speedways.

    I will note that in however many hundreds or thousands of gallons of gasoline I have purchased from Speedway, I very rarely purchased items from their convenience store. On the occasions I did, the purchases were usually for someone else, particularly cigarettes.

    *****

    The Kalamazoo Gazette’s gas price idiot, Paul Morgan, has struck again!

    Yesterday, they published his article titled “After Saturday’s 30-cent rise, Southwest Michigan gas prices drop 10 cents on Sunday.” That is factually incorrect. Prices remained mostly the same on Sunday. There typically isn’t a whole lot of movement on Sundays.

    Even worse, what he wrote in the body of the article: “On Saturday, many stations in Southwest Michigan raised their prices by 30 cents to $3.59. Then on Sunday, some of those same stations dropped down to $3.49.” We know that prices rose to $3.499 on Saturday beginning around 7 a.m. No stations went above $3.499. Stations in west Michigan rarely go higher than the bar Speedway sets.

    You can read Paul Morgan’s grossly inaccurate article at: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/02/after_saturdays_30-cent_rise_s.html

  15. It’s definitely time to raise the GAS PRICE WARNING flag.

    The Chicago spot finished today up 20.87¢ (8.01%) to $2.8152. That’s possibly the largest single day increase I’ve ever seen.

    Using last week’s rack adjustment, that puts the Michigan Spike Line at $3.488452.

    The Michigan average is currently $3.446. That is 4.2452¢ below the spike line.

    I would say it is nearly guaranteed gas prices are going up tomorrow (Wednesday). Less certain is the exact price, in part because I’m using last week’s rack adjustment figure. I’m expecting $3.699.

    The highest price currently reported in Michigan is $3.899 at Gene’s Service in Norton Shores. The lowest reported price is $3.189 at Ammex in Detroit, apparently near the Ambassador Bridge.

    $3.699 is higher than all but the 4 highest prices currently reported in Michigan. Two stations are currently reported at $3.699.

    New York gasoline settled up 5.46¢ at $3.0702.

  16. Some stations may have already started to go up. At 6:40 p.m., Plaza One in New Buffalo was reported at $3.519. They may have received a delivery this evening and they priced it at their cost, while they wait for Speedway tomorrow.

    At 3:10 p.m., a Shell on W. Michigan at Bedford Rd. in Battle Creek was reported at $3.579. That price was also reported for mid-grade and $3.699 for premium. So, I don’t know if $3.579 was the real price or if it was a data entry error for $3.479.

    Norton Shores is near Muskegon. I don’t know what to make of the $3.899 reported today at 1:34 p.m. The second highest price in Norton Shores or Muskegon is $3.499. I guess I’ll assume that was a data entry error. There were no prices reported for the other grades of gas at that station.

  17. Rockford’s gas prices dropped 11 cents from this morning to tonight – that usually signals a jump in price, evidently tomorrow.

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