Category: Commentary

We keep adjusting to win the Game

Comment on the September 22 prediction: WRONG, as we didn’t get the hike until a week later.

Monday, October 14, 2019, 10AM: One of the foundational aspects of winning The Gas Game is to have a good estimate of wholesale gas prices, and that has been a real challenge the last few months. We use the DTN MarketWire, where it is freely-available, to get a Chicago CBOB and/or RBOB end-of-day-quote, but as you can see if you click on news links on this page, those articles are often delayed 1-5 days. In addition, the DTN writers have started ignoring Chicago, instead reporting on rack rates in cities like Pittsburgh. And at the same time, Speedway has stopped posting prices on their site.

Taking this data situation into account, we are have to go Old School. When The Gas Game was started many years ago, I used the New York NYMEX RBOB quote to start my calculation, and that quote is available everywhere, including on our site. That led to miscalculations from time-to-time, when New York and Chicago didn’t add up, due to refinery fires, squirrels, and other issues. But, for now, we are back to using NYMEX, adjusted a bit by a CBOB vs RBOB quote and a weekly rack rate snapshot. This will also affect the Spike Line that Craig maintains.

So, what about this week? Based on Friday’s closing prices, it looks like a hike would be triggered as we near $2.45 a gallon. We are below that price in some places in the Grand Rapids area (e.g. Alpine Avenue), so I smell a hike on the way this week, maybe as soon as today. Fill up! -EA

Cross Currents

Comment on the September 14 prediction: Pretty much CORRECT, although the attack on the Saudi oil led to $2.79 instead of $2.69.

Sunday, September 22, 2019, 3PM: A lot of cross-currents right now when it comes to predicting gas prices. We have new, growing tensions in the Middle East. Recall from more than a decade ago how war there led to $4 gas. On the other hand, we are at the end of the summer, which historically is a time for retail prices to drop, now until Christmas. Put it together, and despite the hike to $2.79 a week ago, we are still hovering around $2.69 in most places. Based on Friday’s market, prices could drop to around $2.55 until we get another hike. Best guess right now is that prices drop slowly until Wednesday or Thursday, and then there is a reset. -EA

Will Iranian tensions keep gas prices up? IDK.

Comment on the August 11 prediction: Almost CORRECT, as prices rose on August 12, but higher than I had predicted.

Sunday, August 18, 2019, 9:30AM: Based on Friday’s prices in the energy market, we have room to go lower in retail prices. The cheapest I can find near Grand Rapids right now is $2.51 (ignoring the Costco/Sam’s Club discounted prices), but we could easily be in the $2.30’s. The fly in the ointment is the ongoing tension with Iran, such as the oil tanker near Gibraltar this weekend. (Looking back at 21st century gas prices, the highest prices ($4+ a gallon) correlated with tension or war in the Middle East.) Nevertheless, I am going to hold off filling up this week until I have to, looking for cheaper prices.

In other news, look who settled a gas gouging lawsuit in Kentucky this summer. -EA

Higher Tariffs, Lower Gas Prices

Comment on the July 22 prediction: Absolutely CORRECT, as prices rose to $2.89 in Michigan on 7/24.

Sunday, August 11, 2019, 7:00PM: We’ve been enjoying declining prices, after the latest in Trump’s China Tariffs “War” sparked a decline in stocks and energy (and soaring gold prices). But, the decline stabilized at the end of last week. Using a Chicago CBOB price of $1.67 a gallon leads to an RBOB estimate of $1.71 and a price hike trigger of $2.33 or so. We are below that price in a variety of places in west Michigan, setting up a hike this week — $2.65? Maybe less than that. -EA

Looks Like A Classic Mid-Summer Hike Is Coming

Monday, July 22, 2019, 3:00PM: In RetailLand, we have a wide range of prices in West Michigan right now, from $2.89 in Byron Center to $2.36 in Sparta. In WholesaleLand, after dropping early last week, those prices have stabilized, and we have some new, apparently real tensions in the Middle East. So, we are setting up for a price reset soon, and right now it looks like the new price will be in the neighborhood of $2.89. Fill up Tuesday early! -EA

Back to $2.999. Thank you, Federal Reserve!

Comment on the June 23 prediction: CORRECT, as prices rose to $2.89. Then they went to $2.95 last week.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 3:30PM: So, I was going to predict a price hike this afternoon, but I see we have one to $2.99. Anyway, here are the comments I wrote earlier this afternoon to post:

The stock market is at new highs this afternoon, and there is a general feeling that the economy is doing well. But, manufacturing appears to be stagnating globally, and there are other signs that we may be heading into a recession. So, the Fed is making noises that it will cut interest rates, and today commodities like gold and oil are rallying. Oil is rallying enough that we moving into possible price-hike territory for local gas prices, on Thursday or Friday. Back to $2.95? -EA

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