Missed Hikes in May Suggest A Grab For Higher Profits

Comment the April 30 prediction and May action:  Although the original prediction was CORRECT, we have had two price resets on the 10th and the 18th that I have completely missed, hence WRONG.

May 20, 2017, 5:00PM:  Suddenly, our game strategy isn’t working.  The price hikes in May have both come with retail prices at least 15 cents away from where I would predict a hike was coming.  The first hike was rather mild — 9 cents in Michigan on the 10th.  The second one this week was a more intense — 17 cents.  Based on the new prices, it looks like Big Red and his friends are trying to move the window to better margins.  Maybe this will work this time, but in past years, ye old Gas Game kicks back in after a while.  Nevertheless, we’ll have to be more alert this summer and a bit quicker to fill up.  Of course, that’s just what they want. — Ed A.

Updated: May 20, 2017 — 4:48 pm

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  1. sharp drop in pump prices parts NW ohio area this morning – station at end of street went from 2.439 last night to 2.339 this morning. Lining up nicely for a spike to at least 2.599 this week start of the “summer driving season” and so on
    did score an unexpected 2.219 on way to work this morning at a station that didn’t spike last week at all which goes to show it pays to shop around

  2. Again surprised the cheapest locations in Indianapolis are on the west side. Debating if I should fill up tonight for $2.06 at Kroger or wait and see what happens tomorrow. Also abnormal to have East Side prices so much higher than the lowest area in town too.

  3. Crude falling below $50…speedway will still find a reason to raise prices.

  4. Not only is crude down, but spot has dropped to $1.53 at mid-day. Optimal timing for Big Red to pull the spike lever. They’ve done it several times when both have a nice drop

  5. Indiana folks might want to remember to fill up everything they possibly can the last week of June.

  6. @ Tim what specifically is happening the last week of June?

  7. July 1st, Indiana adds another 10¢ per gallon to the state gas tax. We have a very good possibility of never seeing sub $2.00 gas again. Ever.

  8. Yep, and then starting in January the IN BMV will get you for more:
    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/27/holcomb-sign-gas-tax-increase/100971286/
    “registration fees for most vehicles will rise by $15. The new law also imposes a $50 on hybrids and a $150 fee on electric cars.”

  9. The 10c is a joke… Another regressive tax brought to us by our friendly party in power. Not that it will impact me financially, but given Indiana’s lack of clues in planning and funding major highway projects let’s just say I have my doubts we’ll ever see any improvements.

  10. Ann Arbor area prices remain settled, with an average of $2.46 according to GB. The low price in my immediate area is @2.29 with others upwards into the mid-$2.30’s.

    I was surprised to see that GB indicates last year our average was $2.55.

  11. seeing a few 2.17-2.19 prices on way to work RT20 NW ohio corridor
    must be time to crank it back up for the “summer driving season”..2.499 coming as soon as today?

  12. $2.499 should hit Ohio tomorrow or Thursday. I think we are safe for today.

  13. Gas is going up to $2.59/gal today Grand Rapids

  14. I received a text for Meijer. Guessing we won’t be safe until tomorrow here in Indy

  15. Welp, Ohio is spiking to $2.499 as well. Led by guess-who.

  16. well that was predicatable..just seen first 2.499 NW Ohio as heading back from lunch..speedway

  17. Hasn’t hit my neck of the woods yet, east of Ann Arbor, although one Speedway that had reset to $2.49 Monday is at $2.59 just now while others on GB show as holding steady within the past 15-20 minutes. I’m sure the dominoes will begin falling as the stations go into lockstep.
    With the Spike Line at $2.25 and our average at $2.46 one would think a .13 jump unlikely but what’s a dime or two between friends?

  18. Mike - Kalamazoo

    was so nice last week paying 1.99 on my trip through the south…where there are no Greedways….

  19. The Greedway near my house is shut down for renovations, leaving just Pilot and Shell. Wonder if that means we’ll get a break from the big spikes? Probably not lol.

    I read the lawmakers were considering “softening the 10 cent gas tax hike” by raising it 5 cents this year and 5 cents next year. Guess that’s not the case now? Oh well, we plan to downsize the house within a couple years and move. Since I primarily work in Fort Wayne, we may even consider moving to Ohio to escape Indiana’s tax hike craze

  20. BTW, notice that there was yet another driving holiday without a price spike.

    When a normal spike just happens to be timed within a few days before a holiday, there’s always a bunch of “yep, as always” comments.

    But when these holidays pass without a spike — silence. And these many instances are quickly forgotten the next time a holiday approaches.

    There simply is no direct correlation with holidays and profit-taking among gas retailers in this market. That has been well established by now, although it’s a difficult concept to let go of for some people.

  21. The 2 Speedway’s by Notre Dame were $2.14 this morning, $2.45 now.

  22. there has been a trend recently not to spike before a ‘holiday’ to avoid the same old situation excuse, trend now seems to be to spike just after..as illustrated today in many areas. based on today’s closing figures now 36c over spot compared to 15c this morning. enough said
    like so many others I played the game – filled up for 2.179 this morning knowing what was bound to happen, which will get me to the weekend, by which time the prices will probably have fallen 10c plus already

  23. The allowance for freight needs to be increased. As locations get busier during the Summer the freight hauler capacity tightens and freight rates increase. 7 cents or more is not unheard of in parts of Michigan. Pipeline maintenance has also impacted supply in Michigan.

  24. It’s quite possible that retailers have come to a conclusion that a spike the day after the holiday, when everyone has empty tanks, might bring them more than the typical Thursday pre-holiday spike, as consumers have become a little wiser and have been filling up earlier in the week, and just topping off the day before? That being said, I don’t know how much of a driving weekend it was in Greedway country this year. We had storms on and off all weekend, the temperatures were somewhat cool, and most of the lakes had restrictions on boating. The GM plant in Fort Wayne ran an extra shift on Memorial Day, and had no problem filling the needed slots with volunteers. Just as the consumer adapts, so do the retailers. As oil is down about 3% today and gas about 3¢ spot price, the price is now pushing 40¢ a gallon over cost. A 20% markup seems like a little more than the “we only make a few pennies a gallon” the retailers and refiners cry every time they spike it.

  25. couldnt agree more with the last comment- i topped off daily last week and hit the pump at 6.00am yesterday morning. the speedway i saw spike first to 2.499 is already at 2.399 less than 24 hours later..and a host of stations went from 2.19 to 2.29 only. failed spike in progress…..

  26. $2.499 spike today, at stations that weren’t already ~$2.399 or thereabouts.

  27. Should have said “in the Toledo area” in my comment above!

  28. Several stations already down 20 cents to the pre-spike levels of Tuesday. What a joke this spike gas been.

  29. Seeing a lot of stations dropping into the lower $2.20s today, dragging Speedway with them, kicking and screaming. Failed spike indeed.

  30. Speedway down .10 here to $2.35 since the .31 spike.
    Costco never went up until today by .03 at $2.13. I don’t think the west side Walmart changed at all $2.13.

  31. Mike - Kalamazoo

    Noticed quite a few stations in Kzoo are down to 2.19. Spike coming this week?

  32. Oil and RBOB taking a beating. We’ll see where spot ends up…

  33. spike line hovering around 2.05 Ohio. many stations NW rt 20 corridor still around 2.35 so a nice fat margin still. A few of the usual hot areas are down around 2.25 so ‘shopping and topping up’ here
    I like to look back in this section to compare to last year. right around this time the wheels fell off..refeneries were having “production issues” all over and pump prices reached 2.70-2.80.

    cant complain at todays prices by comparrison to that..but it wont take much for a repeat I am sure….

  34. All it takes is for someone at Whiting to sneeze on a squirrel, and we’ll be off to the races.

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