Why I filled up tonight, and why I’ve been WRONG lately

Comment on the August 13 prediction:  Nope.  No hike, so the prediction was WRONG.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 9:00PM:  OK, I have been Mr. WRONG the past two months.  What’s going on?  Let me at least walk you through the last two predictions.  On August 5, the “Chicago CBOB spot price” that I find on the Internet was $2.61, which translated to a price to retailers of $3.29.  Since the retail price in Standale was $3.43, I thought we were safe.  But then next day, the spot price rose 10 cents, and then another 9 cents the next day.  Ta da, price hike on August 7.  On August 13, CBOB was $2.77, which means a price to retailers of $3.45, which was the retail price in Standale.  Sounds like the recipe for a price hike.  But, the next day, CBOB dropped 9 cents, and then another 12 cents over the next few days.  Ta da, no hike.  And that brings us to today.  CBOB jumped 6 cents today, and the price to retailers equals the retail price in Standale.  If filled up tonight, and I’ll risk further public ridicule and predict a price hike for Wednesday.  $3.55? –Ed A.

Updated: August 19, 2014 — 8:47 pm


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  1. I’m filling up tonight as well. In case of the predicted hike to $3.55 and you KNOW we will get one next week!!

  2. It’s hard to predict the future. One of our more vocal posters here said on Aug. 7 “next week … back to 3.79-3.89,” and we never even got close to that. At least you use actual data and not just cynicism when you make your predictions. I still find this site useful, despite the quality of some of the comments.

  3. This is a most useful site. I’ve been using it for years. I have even contributed a couple times. I don’t mind sarcasm once in a while, and I have used it myself. Anyway, I filled up this morning, just in case.

  4. sw Ohio – Speedway spike underway. $3.499.

  5. We will see a spike to 3.55 or so in Indiana today and then one more ahead of Labor Day. I don’t see us getting away with Labor Day gas below 3.50 or 3.60…

    I will be happy to be proven wrong of course as I have a couple trips planned so… As a cynical low comment quality poster would say, “hold your squirrels” and wait for Labor Day.

  6. hitting 3.55 in Kalamazoo area as we speak…

  7. Greedway spike in Toledo–$3.499. 🙁

  8. You know, I can see the spike in the numbers for IN and MI, but OH is just along for the ride. Unless there was a big jump in rack prices this week, the worst case rack adjustment I have for OH still leaves us 8.5 cents over the Spike Line. What BS.

  9. Speedway spiked 1st in South Bend around 11am yesterday to $3.49. I visited a 7-11 for $3.39.

  10. I find the site very useful. I agree with renbutler when he says that you use actual data instead of cynicism. Keep up the great work and thank you for the website.

  11. “Actual data” provided by who?

    The oil cartels?

    The oligopoly of refiners?

    The near monopoly of retailers?

    The commodities marketeers?

    Any bets on a hike Thursday?

  12. Oh, the hike is coming alright. Only a couple ¢ above zero margin. Unless wholesale drops…..but as of last night, it’s predilection is for increasing, not dropping.

  13. “Actual data,” as in “not dreamt up by anonymous and paranoid people on the internet.”

  14. We’ve dropped 11 cents from last week’s spike, so yeah another crank up can’t be far off. May I make a bold prediction and say it will happen BEFORE the holiday weekend lol.

    We went to $3.45 last week so I’d say $3.59 with this spike. The Greedway executives would like to take their yachts out before summer ends.

  15. Good to see that the intellectual discourse level of the site is preseved…

    So, pray tell us Ren, what’s the difference between an anonymous and occasionally paranoid person on the internet making a prediction by pulling numbers out of thin air and a commodities trader knowingly fawning over some inconsequential piece of news and spiking the price of crude “just because”???? “On fears of”.. “On hopes that”… And other weasel words that are regurgitated by “analysts” and become Gospel overnight.

    Both of us pulled numbers out of thin air, except his numbers tend to stick.

    If you’re going to call people names at least do it a bit more elegantly 🙂

  16. Turbo, you got my vote…of course that is worth absolutely nothing.

  17. Good grief, Turbo. I’m comparing you to Ed, not to commodities traders.

    Ed provides a useful service, using actual available data and raw market numbers to make predictions. When his numbers are wrong, he figures out why they are wrong and changes his methods.

    Compare that to nonsense like “prices will increase because they always do and because it’s a holiday and I’m so funny because I can repeat the same squirrel joke over and over.”

    Also, I never called anybody a name. Please see if you can operate without silly internet tactics. Surely at least one place can evolve beyond that, right? We deserve it.

  18. “Both of us pulled numbers out of thin air, except his numbers tend to stick.”

    The former is false, and the latter actually sums up my point quite nicely. You can’t gloss over it as if it’s meaningless. It’s the essential point.

  19. Apart from the ethanol issue earlier this year, I’ve found that most of the data problems which negatively impact prediction generally stem from rack prices and the rack adjustment we calculate to correct for the difference from the Chicago prices.

    Wholesale is up almost 6 cents over the past two days. MI and IN were already right down on the Spike Line with OH just a few cents over after today. Preliminary API data for this week is in, too. Crude and gasoline draws were both larger than predicted. That’s usually not good news. I’d wager we’re in for a reset tomorrow.

  20. Thanks for the prediction, and for getting us back on track.

  21. Ren, I was hoping you will understand that the numbers pulled out of thin air are the primary contributors of pricing variations.

    Consider the classic explanation of “draws this week were greater than anticipated” so crank up the price by X cents.

    In a reality based pricing model the X cents would be a deterrent to consumers and demand would drop.

    Unless X is significant I don’t find the scenario any more accurate in predicting prices than pulling numbers out of thin air.

    Not to mention that there exist entire segments of the markets whose purpose is to smooth out such prices. That’s the commodities markets….

    You seem to have faith in people and systems and I’m a bit more skeptical about it all. All I want is a second spike to occur Thursday 🙂

    Figure the current super low prices in the 3.30 range now plus 50 cent max spike potential, looking at Indiana at 3.79??? Maybe 3.75 if we are lucky?

    There. That was easy.

  22. I’m betting on 3.55 or 3.59, depending on whether spot stays where it is, or goes up in the next few days. Either way, we’ll get a spike, because spot has gone up. The holiday weekend is just a coincidence. This 25 spikes a year, you have a 50/50 chance of getting one, regardless of what week it is.

  23. In looking at the gas price graphs on Gas Buddy, it appears that Indiana (probably others too) are now going to be relegated to consistently being above USA average, and not falling below again for a long long time.

  24. But you won’t see some people lamenting on us being over the average again… Much as they didn’t lament on the very fact for the many months we were bestowed this honor earlier in the year.

    I can’t help but wonder where did all these journalists that harped daily about the price of gasoline in the mid 2000’s go since then. The easy answer is that they were all liberals trying to show President X negatively etc while holding their horses for President Y’s repeat performance.

    Back then it was all about crude speculation. But now that this is no longer the case we get daily explanations of why it is really reasonable to see such fluctuations and high prices, and indeed, even 50 cent spikes rarely evoke more than a mention and obligatory explanation from an “expert” or two generally telling us we are lucky it was only 50 cents…

  25. Speedway spikes first, $3.59 underway in South Bend, IN.

  26. Nothing in sw Ohio, YET.

  27. Greedway has spiked to $3.59 between Anderson & Muncie, meanwhile Pilot dropped to $3.33. Hard to figure out where I’ll be topping off the vehicles at today lol.

  28. Gas up to $3.69 in Grand Rapids

  29. 3.69 Kazoo area too..

  30. Well… Partial credit. Should be enough for a bronze squirrel award.

  31. independent retailer

    My cost the last week
    20th 3.33
    21st 3.35
    22nd 3.38
    25th 3.37
    26th 3.37
    27th 3.38
    My retail the entire time: 3.49

  32. Timm P and Turbo46032 have a way of keeping it amusing even when gas prices are going up. Ren generally sounds like he needs a nap to get over his perpetually cranky mood. Ren, I can’t help but wonder if you ever find humor in anything? To all of the anonymous and paranoid people who operate with silly internet tactics, and make jokes about squirrels, I say carry on! We all need humor from time to time, right? We deserve it.

  33. The 5 categories: (1)There are people that, like Ren, have the time and inclination and feel it a privilege to monitor and “beat the system” (2)There are people that watch prices, lurk here, and don’t need to gas up often enough that they can go from low to low and “beat the system”. I fit this category. (3)There are the people that pay for 1 & 2 by needing gas often enough that they buy when they need it, and oftentimes will pay the higher price. (4)There are people that gas up OFTEN so that they rarely need to pay the top price, but will shop inside the store and help pay the profits for the 1 & 2 people above to reap the benefits of “beating the system” (5)There are people that pay no attention and gas up whenever. They also support us in #1 and #2 above.

    BUT…Actually, nobody above, has actually “beat the system” only succeeded in buying at the low price. I don’t know how many of the purchasing public, I believe it to be a very low percentage, know that even at the low prices, we, in the IN, MI, and OH area are still paying ABOVE AVERAGE prices! An God willing, nothing at all ever happens to the refining or delivery system, because then, INSTANTLY, greed, fear, and avarice all take over and wholesale pricing does little to reflect reality, but more like whim and rip-off-mania. That is what gripes the daylights out of me. I have been watching it for years and years, since the late 1970’s when gas jumped 8 to 10¢ in 6 hours, and then might fall that over the next week to 14 days. Thank you Checker and Bonded for figuring out how to sell treats inside to make up for low gas margins, and thank you Speedway for perfecting the model.

  34. TimmP, I truly appreciate all the people who take the time to post and try and help others get the best deal possible on gas. I don’t know much about the hows and why’s gas prices do what they do, but I know more often than not coming in and reading what’s posted saves me money.

    I guess with all the craziness we face on a daily basis if you can add humor to the harsher side of what’s going on it makes for a happier day. I love to laugh at the humor some people have. It’s great!

    My Troy Kroger station just changed their price from 3.45 to 3.69, so I’m delighted to say with my Kroger card savings of 1.00 off per gallon I was able to get gas at 2.45 right before Labor Day. I hope everyone has a safe and great holiday weekend. 🙂

  35. Indiana went up to $3.59, Michigan $3.69 today. Ohio did not go up, and still have enough of a cushion that they may slide until Tuesday at least. The good news is that while September NYMEX RBOB (what I post over at the Spike Line) is in the upper $2.70 range, October RBOB is upper $2.50s. Remember the graph I posted the last time I made a blog post here, this is the time of year for us to go down in price, and should continue to fall until December/January.


  36. I filled up this morning, because I have some driving to do, and I knew we were getting close to a price hike, but I thought we had another day. I hope everyone has a good holiday weekend!

  37. The only way to beat the system is to not buy gas or buy less gas. Today I filled my Civic for 3.32. 10 gallons worth, for a week. So for a month I use 50 gallons, 40 me and 10 wife who works from home 4 days a week.

    Buying at the low saved us 40 cents a gallon say at 50 gallons is 20 dollars a month. The savings are largely inconsequential. My issue is not $20/month savings, but rather, $3.89 gasoline for no apparent reason.

    A few years ago my wife worked downtown and we were paying double the money for gas. That hurt. But no matter how you play the system and what you drive, the best way is to buy less gasoline, regardless of price.

    It’s like Europe. Gasoline is twice what is here, but they drive half the distance and/or they have far more efficient vehicles (and smaller). If you’re driving an Escalade, you’re toast regardless.

    Squirrel on.

  38. I’m with the above–milk isn’t suddenly “X”-amount more per gallon at 8:00pm versus 2:00pm.

    Big explosion in Whiting, IL last evening–isn’t that the refinery just expanded? Either way, better top-off. My prediction is for an extra premium on top of the spike to come for OH: $4.0999 by this afternoon.

  39. BP Whiting Refinery had an explosion overnight heard 2+ miles away. This after the $0.20+ Speedway spike yesterday here in South Bend IN.

  40. So – evidently my cynical prediction of last week came true since gas in Rockford, MI this morning, already, is $3.69, even though the price of oil and all the other “unrest” issues are not really a factor [but yes, the BP refinery explosion evidently is].

  41. Must… Resist… Urge… To… Make… A… Squirrel… Joke…

    Let’s see if we get a triple play with yesterday’s 3.59 and another one after the holiday weekend…

    Of course, we had the expert out again on the radio explaining that it is perfectly normal to have 24 price cycles in 8 months.. And that this is part of normal retailer competition…

    Repeat something long enough I suppose and people will actually believe it….

  42. Turbo46032 when I’m able to fill up before the price of gas jumps up I feel like I beat the system. If I walk away with $20 more in my wallet I’m singing “because I’m happy” by Pharrell Williams. Being able to come to this website and find out what’s happening with gas prices has easily saved me $150 dollars this year. Combine that with a good squirrel joke and life is good.

  43. That’s correct, saving about $160 per car per year, is what I figure. The people that can’t or don’t pay attention to buy at the lower price…..Thank You!

  44. I literally will save mere pennies here and there. As a penny in my pocket is better than a penny in “theirs” (whoever they may be on any given day). Pennies add up – in my pocket is a better place to be.

  45. Well… There’s something to be said about $20/month being nice – it is – but it plays right into the psyche of “I saved $” rather than the psyche of “I spent $$$$$$”. It diverts consumer focus from the real issue of $100+ crude and $3.75+ gas… It also directs focus away from the fact that despite being near some of the largest refineries in the USA we perennially get impacted by “outages” which don’t seem to impact other areas as much.

    Or that we pay higher than average prices for lengthy periods of time…

    Tell us again how cycle pricing is due to “retailers competing” and benefits the consumers at the end?

  46. Totally off the wall hike by Speedway in Chicagoland today. Wholesale is 15 cents below what it was when they hiked to the same $3.65 price a couple weeks ago. If I hadn’t for years argued that there was no such thing as an unwarranted holiday price hike, this one would have me wondering. Of course there was an incident at the BP Whiting refinery overnight, but BP says the impact on production is minimal.

  47. Turbo, looks like you’ve avoided the call out last time that was me offering to explain how the market really works, but never got a call… I guess you’d rather drink that koolaid.

  48. Does the market work any different in Indianapolis than it does in Durham, North Carolina, Patrick? They have almost the same level of state taxes as we do yet they seem to manage fine without price swings.


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