Month: November 2015

E85:  Is it time to give it a thought?

Usually I am NOT for using E-85.  With the reduced mileage associated with the lower energy content, the cost tradeoff is generally not worth it.  Generally.

However, you have to recognize the current state of gas prices.  Ethanol has been running about 50 cents more expensive than CBOB.  That said, a lot of stations are still discounting E85 – as much as 50 cents per gallon.  Locally for me, a Kroger station I saw yesterday was selling RUNL for $1.68 and E85 for $1.18.  A 50-cent discount on $1.68 amounts to about a 30% discount from regular unleaded. Even considering a 20% drop in mileage, that’s a pretty good deal.  Throw on a Kroger fuel discount on top of it and you’re really doing well.   Considering that Chicago wholesale prices for straight ethanol are about $1.50/gal, $1.18/gal is actually BELOW COST.

Check prices near you to see if it’s time for you to consider using E85.  Also make sure your car is able to use E85 as it can wreak havoc on an unqualified fuel system.

Kroger E85

Price hike coming: nothing to do with Thanksgiving this week, right?

Comment on the November 14 prediction:  Pretty much CORRECT, as prices have been falling considerably and the cheapest in the GR area today is $1.65.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 8:30PM:  Today we saw the first spike up in wholesale gas prices in quite a while, and with retail prices in the $1.60s in some places, I think we are setting up for a holiday price re-set on Wednesday, back to $1.99, and maybe higher.  We are already seeing this in parts of Indiana and Ohio.  So, if you are driving to relatives on Wednesday, fill up early and often. -EA

Thank You for $2 Gas

Comment on Monday’s prediction:  Quite CORRECT, as prices headed to $2 a gallon.

Saturday, November 14, 2015, 9:00AM:  I don’t know why, but oil prices dropped 10% this week, and wholesale Chicago-area gas prices fell even more.  Gas prices are as low as $1.999 in the Grand Rapids area this morning, but there is room in my calculations to go all the way down to $1.80.  This is the time of year when gas prices are the lowest.  Hooray! -EA

Michigan Gas Tax to Rise At End of 2016

Monday, November 9, 2015, 8:00PM:  After years of talk, the Michigan Legislature and Governor surprised me last week and passed a road repairs funding bill.  The new law (to be signed tomorrow) includes a jump in the gas tax at the end of 2016, and we’ll worry about that when we get there.  I gave my take on all this back in April, with the bottom line being that Michigan isn’t collecting as much in fuel taxes to fix our roads, and Michigan isn’t getting the money from Washington to fix our roads like other states are.  For that last point, I wonder what Michigan’s congressmen are doing in Washington?

Back to our short-term Gas Game:  wholesale prices dropped significantly last week, and retail prices are slowly working their way lower.  In Fort Wayne, prices are already close to $2, and in Texas, they had a gas price war this weekend.  Prediction:  lower prices all week. -EA

Don’t Be Lulled

Comment on the October 25 prediction:  Prices fell all week, so pretty much CORRECT.  Then we got that hike yesterday.  Boooooo!

Comment on coining a term:  I liked ChrisDG74’s “Greed Grab” the most of the entries that were posted.  I may start using “Fat Fingered Greed Grab” for those twice-a-year faux hikes.

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 10:49 AM EST:  The problem with gas prices under $2.75 is that it is easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency.  Friday night, I updated my spreadsheet and saw that we had moved into price hike territory, but I thought “Eh, some time this weekend I’ll post something looking ahead to Monday.”  Of course, that was WRONG, because prices rose on Saturday morning to $2.49 here in Michigan.  It wasn’t a Fat Fingered Greed Grab, though, just the usual Grab.  Moving forward, we have two cross-currents from now until Christmas.  Historically, the next eight weeks are usually a time of declining gas prices.  But given the bounce off of the recent lows in the energy and stock markets, we may have more room to run higher there.  Maybe these two dynamics will cancel each other out, and we’ll average $2.39 from here to Christmas.  That’s not a prediction, though, just a thought. — Ed A.

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