Starting to Feel Like A Summer Oil Rally

Comment on the June 27 prediction: Kind of WRONG, since the hike didn’t happen until after the holiday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 8:00PM: Oil has quietly rallied 10% in the past month, including a health jump today. This is consistent with the seasonality seen in this chart. Nothing dramatic is going on (yet), but the Gas Game brain trust agree that we’ve got a hike coming, tomorrow or Thursday. New price will be at least $2.49 in Michigan, but could be higher. -EA

It has been a peculiar summer so far, so let’s fill up on Wednesday

Comment on the June 11 prediction:  CORRECT as prices slipped lower for the next 11 days, but WRONG on missing the hike last Thursday.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 3:00PM:  But it wasn’t much of a hike, and in some places, they’ve given it all back since Friday.  You can buy gas for $2.17 in Wyoming right now, but still at $2.39 in many other places, such as Dorr.  You know, we’ve had some odd behavior for two months now with odd hikes and a 20% drop in oil prices not corresponding to a 20% drop in wholesale or retail gas prices, even with a time lag.  So, let’s predict some more odd behavior.  In Wyoming, we are in price-hike territory already, but not in Dorr.  And with a long holiday weekend coming up, I can envision Big Red getting all the prices back in line in the next two days.  Back to $2.39, or will they go a little higher? -EA

Cheap Gas in Belding

June 11, 2017, 7:00PM:  This spring, we’ve been commenting on what appears to be more aggressive retail pricing of gasoline, with more frequent price resets and higher margins.  That 0-cent margin price still exists, though, and when Big Red takes its foot off the accelerator, you start to see wide variation of prices in the region, like we are seeing this weekend.  As I write this, you can get gas for $2.10 in Belding (northeast of Grand Rapids), but a few miles away, prices are in the $2.40’s and even $2.50’s in some places in GR.  That’s because of the fat margins of those in the 2.40’s right now, and the slim-to-none margins in Belding.  With competition, margins shrink.

Going forward, I see no reason for a price reset any time soon, except maybe in Belding.  And, although we don’t tend to engage in long term predictions here on The Gas Game, this tweet from an economic professor suggests significantly higher oil prices are on their way, and gas prices will follow.  Right now, I don’t believe it, but take a look! –Ed A.

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.

The Spike Line Calculation Adjustment

Two sharp-eyed readers recently commented that the results showing in The Spike Line didn’t match what they calculated using the formulas shown on the page, and those in turn skewed what was showing in the charts. Their comments spurred me to take a look at the spreadsheet that I update daily and underpins what you see on both “The Spike Line” and “Today in Oil” pages. As it turns out, the readers were correct – there were some deviations between the calculations in the spreadsheet and the displayed formulas.

The differences were not dramatic; the actual variances were between roughly 1 and 3 cents. That was enough, though, to throw off when the numbers and charts predicted a spike. I’ve since adjusted the spreadsheet calculations to match the formulas, so anyone doing the math should be reaching the same result. Ohio was not affected, as the formula and calculation matched.

Thanks for following The Gas Game and letting us know! -CP (c) 2017 Frontier Theme