Month: August 2012

When gas prices act like Apple Computer, we get price hikes, like the one we’ll get tomorrow

Comment on the August 22 prediction:  The next day, prices rose to $3.95 in Michigan, a little higher than predicted, but basically CORRECT.

Monday, August 27, 2012, 9:50PM:  On Friday, you could have bought a share of Apple Computer for $657.  This morning, you needed $680 for the same share.  That’s $23, or almost 4% higher, and that’s how the stock market works sometimes.  The rise in Apple was connected to the Samsung smartphone ruling.  Gasoline is also traded on a market, and for the past several years, it has often behaved like Apple.  (Regulators, take note!)  Today, for instance, traders are treating Hurricane Isaac like Apple’s legal ruling, and Chicago wholesale prices are soaring.  I don’t see how we won’t get a hike tomorrow to over $4 a gallon, and I am going to fill up in the morning before it hits.  -Ed A.

Price Hike Thursday It Appears

Comment on the August 19 prediction:  No hike so far this week, and prices dropping slowly up surely.  An unimpressive CORRECT.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 6:40PM:  Wholesale prices jumped 6 cents today, UGA is the highest it has been since before the recession started, while retail prices have continued to slide.  That means price hike tomorrow.  Estimated new price:  $3.89.  — Ed Aboufadel

Have Prices Topped Out for the Summer?

Sunday, August 19, 2012, 9:45AM:  Have we topped out for the summer?  Since the August 10 re-set to $3.99, retail prices have been dropping into the $3.70’s, in part because wholesale prices have been falling, too.  Seems like they are getting those refineries and pipelines fixed.  We’ll keep monitoring the brother-calls theory.  As of Friday’s close, I calculate a price-to-retailers of $3.67 a gallon, which corresponds to a price floor of $3.57.  With $3.75 being the cheapest in Grand Rapids, we have room to drop further.  So, the earliest I would anticipate a price hike in Thursday, and that depends on how the markets trade the next few days.  Prediction:  falling prices continue. — Ed Aboufadel

When My Brother Calls To Talk About Gas Prices

Comment on the July 29 prediction:  Prices rose the next day to $3.79, so the prediction was CORRECT.

Sunday, August 12, 2012, 10:20AM:  $4 a gallon is back.  Booooooo!!!  At the end of last week, we were having trouble with the web site, and we are sorry about that.  I also wasn’t quite focused on what was going on.  I should have listened more closely to my brother when he called me on Friday morning, saying he heard about more refinery fires and a hike of at least 25 cents in the making.  I told him that was old news, from two weeks ago, but he was right.  Here’s a quote from a news story:  “In the past few weeks, pipelines serving Wisconsin and Illinois ruptured, refineries were shut down unexpectedly because of equipment problems in Illinois and Indiana, and a blaze broke out at a refinery in Richmond, Calif.”

Add to this how the drought has caused a jump in ethanol prices, and did you notice the S&P 500 is back over 1400?  We continue to make the case of the close relationship between stock prices and gas prices, and we see it again this summer.  Some hopeful signs, though:  (1) August is usually the high point of the year for gas prices; and (2) when my brother calls to talk to me about gas prices, that usually signals a top.  We’ll see.   –Ed Aboufadel

Pipelines, refineries, and gas prices, oh my!

Enbridge had a 1200 barrel spill in one of their pipelines on Friday in Wisconsin. Although they replaced the pipe that was damaged on Tuesday, they won’t be getting it back online until the U.S. Transportation Secretary is convinced that they can reopen without another spill.

That is causing Citgo’s Lemont, Illinois plant some problems, as it’s been shut down due to other issues, but won’t come online until the crude is flowing again. If that weren’t enough, BP’s Whiting, Indiana refinery had a small fire that took down the facility on on the 23rd of July. It still has not reopened, and may not reopen for at least two weeks, maybe more.

What does this mean to you? Higher gas prices. It’s as simple as supply and demand. Will we see prices rise above $4? Some parts of Michigan have. It’s a magical barrier, and I think the 61.3¢ boost in Chicago CBOB price since July 25th when averages were in the $3.50-3.65 range will warrant it. If the barrier is broken, Indiana and Michigan could see upwards of $4.10, while Ohio should stay below $4.

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