New Year! New Game?

Comment on the December 17, 2014 prediction:  No hike the last two weeks of December, so the prediction was WRONG.

Thursday, January 1, 2015, 1:30PM:  Happy New Year to all our readers!  I appreciate that you come to read about gas prices, and I hope we can continue to help you save money during 2015.  Wow, on November 24, retail gas prices were $2.99 in Standale.  Today, it is $1.84, and $1.68 in Lowell.  Reports are that we have some of the cheapest gas in all of the U.S.  It has been remarkable.  What can we expect going forward?  I have to bow to history and expect to see prices move up over the next few months, as they usually do during the winter.  And we are due for a price hike, because drops in retail prices are finally catching up with drops in wholesale prices.  If the pre-price crash rules hold, we’ll see a jump soon to about $2.09 a gallon.  Friday? — Ed A.

Updated: January 1, 2015 — 1:35 pm

111 Comments

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  1. Another interesting Idea is the fact that you can bet your bottom dollar that Speedway knows of this site and it’s intent and capabilities. It is all part of knowing the market and your customers. You can also bet they are betting on most people or at least a significant number of people not paying attention or caring.

  2. As much as I appreciate this site, only a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of people know about it and know how to use it. Gasbuddy has a bigger following, but still barely enough to make a dent in prices.

    I couldn’t care less about Speedway (I almost never buy gas there), but the current spike cycle benefits those of us who pay attention, at the expense of those who don’t care. Nobody has ever come close to explaining to me why I should be bothered by it.

  3. And that doesn’t mean that nobody has tried. You guys try all the time (so no need to try again). It’s just not working.

    I’ll pocket my extra $100 or so that I save every year and be happy with it.

  4. I never did care for a fancy station. Increased cost from contractors to build and higher property tax can’t be good for lower prices at the pump.

  5. TimmP
    Historically selling gas has not been very profitable. So certainly if dealers can tack on more and it sticks, why not? Certainly if Speedway’s margins have increased, so have those of their competition.

  6. Speedway’s strategy seems to have become an example. Here’s why.

    In NW Indiana, Family Express has now took control of setting the spike price/day. This only happened recently (maybe for a couple of months).

    It seems that Family Express has grown enough in station locations in NW Indiana. Enough so, that they think they have enough influence to lead every station.

    So even if Speedway were to disappear, I have a feeling that other stations besides Family Express would continue this spike cycle. Why? Because it’s profitable.

    Does this make Family Express a Greed Express? No, they are just trying to make extra money and survive as a business.

    Informed consumers can still benefit though.

  7. Ren, airline travel use to be priced in a similarly obnoxious way. Those who booked very early or at the last minute benefited while those who went business as usual paid a lot more.

    Fast forward a few and now airline travel is once again affordable only for funerals and job interviews.

    By being diligent and vocal now as drivers may have a chance to avoid the airline pricing models dumped on us. I mean, think about it. I as an individual should only be concerned about what I pay, right?

    Alas, this is not the case. Businesses see the jumping prices and raise their prices uncertain of the future. Consumers, likewise, see the prices merry go round and always remember the highs. Consumers cut spending and hello recession once again.

    I’m sure everyone gets the warm fuzzies when they fill at the bottom hours or minutes before a spike. But the gullible folk out there take their money off the table and hurt the rest of us.

  8. Okay, Chicken Little.

  9. Justin:
    I have seen that very behavior here, in NE Indiana, with Lassus Handy Dandy leading the pack for as long as a whole day, ASKING, if you will, Speedway and others to join in. I said long ago, that the other stations have learned this model and they all seem to just wait for another to blink first.

    This last spike, last week, I did notice a Marathon station in the small town of Grabill DID NOT SPIKE and kept $1.85 throughout the entire weekend and still had $1.85 gasoline Monday. It is a small town, and the one and only station there held their pricing. HOORAY for them! Leading into the town, 2 miles away, at a Clark and a BP, gas was $2.09 through the whole weekend.

  10. You know, there apparently are some of you that LOVE playing this game. Seemingly getting satisfaction from beating the stations at their game. And they (the stations)know there are a few of us out there doing just that.

    I have been winning since the 1970’s when Checker, Bi-Lo, and Bonded started this model with nickel spikes and a two week period to drop the price and I was earning $3.22 an hour and $5.00 filled the tank.

    It is getting old, just not so much fun to play anymore (which is where my gripes come from), but yet just as rewarding as it used to be. I have a van with a 36 gallon tank. I can save almost $10 if I run it dry and fill it up on a good low price day vs a day after a spike. But it is getting tired after 40+ years.

  11. TimmP
    Thanks for sharing that the same thing is happening in NE Indiana. Interesting.

    Another observation for my area. Very interesting to see that most other stations wait until Speedway spikes. So usually Family Express is by themselves for a couple of hours. Then Speedway goes up to what price Family Express set. Then the rest of the stations follow suit. Well, almost all of them.

    There is a local gas station in my town that does spike like the rest of the stations. However they choose to spike usually 10 cents below the “spike” price.

    They usually are one of the lowest stations in town. This station is the one I usually fill up at.

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