Friday, April 24, 2009, 4:30 PM: Whew. Finals Week is over, and I have some time now to get back to the Game. Since my last post on April 12, we had a reset on April 16 to $2.05, and then another hike this past Tuesday to $2.09. Retail prices have been bouncing around while NYMEX prices have been pretty sedate, and the numbers indicate that the last hike was an attempt to close the recent “Chicago discount” that we have been enjoying. Tuesday’s hike to $2.09 was pretty much in line with NYMEX prices that day, based on the old tried-and-true formula posted on this site.
So, if we don’t have any discount or premium now (and it is harder to tell now that the AXXIS quotes are no longer available for free), what lies ahead for next week. Given today’s 4-cent rise on NYMEX, we have 0-cent margin price of about $1.93 and a 20-cent price of $2.14. Retail prices are mostly in the $1.99 to $2.09 range, so I would be looking for gentle drops in prices over the weekend and on Monday. On Tuesday, we could get a rise to $2.15 or so, but I don’t feel strongly enough about this to make a prediction right now. Things might look different on Monday.
Comment on the April 2 prediction: We didn’t get a hike until April 7, and it was only up to $2.05, so the prediction was WRONG.
Sunday, April 12, 2009, 5:15 PM: From February 27 until now, there have been five price hike days, and each time, the hike has been up to a price that was less than I would predict based on either NYMEX or AXXIS numbers. Patrick’s sources confirm that a “Chicago Discount” has been operational lately, which is surprising this time of year. If anything, the switchover from “winter gas” to “summer gas” usually leads to shortages and price spikes. Perhaps this is one (welcome) consequence of the recession.
If NYMEX is to be believed, the 0-cent margin price is $1.99 this weekend, but I don’t have much confidence in the numbers right now, because the 0-cent price could be as low as $1.85 due to the Discount. With retail prices pretty much in the $1.95-$2.05 range right now, there is no obvious prediction to make, so I won’t.
Saturday, March 14, 2009, 3:00 PM: Since the March 5 hike to $2.05, NYMEX and AXXIS numbers have bounced around but are basically where they were at on that day. Patrick is reporting that wholesale prices around Chicago have been pretty volatile down and back up, and that would explain $1.73 in Fort Wayne and $1.78 on Lake Michigan Drive today. Based on NYMEX/AXXIS, I have to predict that prices re-set on Monday or Tuedsay to the $1.99-$2.09 range.
Also, on the AXXIS site, there is a note that after April 15, that free service will be discontinued. I think they are on to us.
Comment on the February 7 prediction: Hmmm. Shell (yes Shell!) hiked to $1.99 on Monday, which matches my prediction, but the rest of the crew took their time, many waiting until Tuesday and their hike was to $1.95. I’m not going to give myself full credit: 3/4 CORRECT, 1/4 WRONG.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 7:40PM: It is a busy, busy time for me, but I have a moment to drop in for a quick post. I saw a number of articles on the ‘Net this weekend about how oil has dropped, but gas prices are up. As I noted in my last posting, welcome to February. I drove back from Chicago on Monday afternoon and I thought I saw a $2.05 as I drove along I-94 near Benton Harbor. It was not my imagination, as Gas Buddies say Shell hiked to $2.09 yesterday, but few matched. There are still a few $2.09’s around, but for the most part, we are still solidly below $2. Since the stock and energy markets stunk up the joint, maybe we are free and clear for a few days. As of today’s close, NYMEX prices has us in a $1.64 to $1.85 range, while AXXIS has us higher, but they are always behind by a day. I’m going to cross my fingers here and predict no price hikes this week.
Comment on the January 28 posting: Two days after that posting, some places hiked to $1.95, others didn’t, which I think reflected my ambivalence. Eventually, everyone went to $1.95, but then prices started going back down.
Saturday, February 7, 2009, 9:30PM: I have a program on my computer called Kana Reminder that I can set different reminder messages. An annual message that comes up on February 1 is "Expect two months of gas price hikes", because that is what seems to happen every year. I am pretty sure we have a price hike coming on Monday, to at least $1.99, but maybe over $2, as NYMEX climbed at the end of the week, and AXXIS did even more, despite a calming of labor tensions with the refineries. Fill up late Sunday or early Monday if you can.
Comment on the January 14 posting: Prices hiked to $1.99 the next day, so the prediction was CORRECT.
January 28, 2009, 7:20 AM: I haven’t been posting the past two weeks because I’ve been struggling with the head cold that has been going around and doing a lot at work, and the wholesale prices have been pretty stable and calm. As of this morning, we have the same wholesale prices we were looking at on January 9. There are concerns about a refinery strike, but those concerns haven’t affected NYMEX or AXXIS prices yet. Given where wholesale prices are, and with prices dipping below $1.80 in the area, it would not be surprising if we got a reset back to $1.99 by the end of the week, but it would also not be surprising if prices continued to drop slowly. Yes, that’s quite a non-prediction, but what it means is I have no edge in "The Game" this morning.