Tag: retailer

Gas prices to go up over weekend/early next week

The stat line goes like this:

Fair price: ( $1.9374+$0.6413 ) = $2.5787
Average selling price – fair price: ($2.537-$2.5787)=
Margin over cost + profit: -$0.0417

In other words, for Michigan, you are selling at more than a negative 4 cent margin by my numbers. In Indiana that is more than 6 cents, and that’s with 5 cents taken out of the fair price due to the Indianapolis rack being so much lower than Chicago’s. This usually means spike. But we are going into a weekend, and Speedway rarely goes up on Saturday and never has on Sunday since I have kept track.

I have seen weekend spikes up in price from local retailers. Companies like Schmuckal Oil in NNW Lower Michigan, Wesco in W Lower Michigan and Atlas Oil in Indiana, a few in Michigan and Kentucky (check out our links page to see their websites and see if their is a station in your area.) Meijer also has spiked up on the weekend.

My point is we are very close to a spike, and we may see the price spike up over the weekend/early next week. Keep an eye on your local retailers, as they may spike up, even if Speedway doesn’t. Good luck out there.

Prices fall as supply issues ease

I see the prices falling in the next couple days at least, since the Chicago spot has fallen 21 cents since Thursday.  The supply problem in the Midwest seems to be easing, and we have seen prices fall in some areas.  Since I have had a report that Indianapolis stations recorded a negative profit for the month of May (a time retailers are supposed to gouge people coming in for the Indy 500) it’s not likely we are going to see as fast a fall as you would hope, as stations will look to recoup their losses.

Keep an eye on what the Chicago spot is doing on our “Today in Oil” page.  As long as it continues to fall back toward the NYMEX RBOB, we too should see prices fall at the pump.

Price jump soon (today?) to $2.19?

Looking at morning numbers briefly this morning before an interview on WOOD AM1300, I think I might have to announce that I’m expecting a price hike soon to $2.19! A quick look at closing prices on the market from late last week and yesterday:
Thursday close $1.42
Friday close $1.47
Monday close $1.54

As you can see, wholesale prices are up a whopping 12-cents since just Thursday! While I believe Speedway’s price hike Friday to $2.15 was over done to provide more profit for their Saturday/Sunday Speedy Rewards discount, I now believe that they will raise prices again to keep up with wholesale cost.

Another contributing factor is the switchover to Summer blended gasoline which costs more to make. Refiners were required starting Friday (May 1) to only sell Summer blended fuel after that time. Retailers have until June 1 to make sure they have it in their tanks.

At last check, the Chicago market is suffering a huge Chicago Premium for RBOB gasoline (ethanol blended gasoline, which nearly all retailers sell). The Chicago region was paying nearly 18-cents more per gallon than any other region. Chicago is currently trading RBOB Unleaded at a 21-cent PER GALLON premium to NYMEX pricing.

I’m led to believe we’ll see a jump to between $2.15-$2.25. I’ll pick $2.19.

Gasoline demand is starting to rise so don’t think this is a shock to see higher gas prices. At least we’re not paying $3 or $4/gallon!

Patrick

Okay, retailer… wholesale prices have risen…

…but please lower your prices until you need to buy that more expensive gasoline!

Folks- that Chicago discount is drying up fast as the Winter blended fuel (RVP 11.5) is sold at an alarming rate. Summer gasoline that pollutes less but costs more to produce is starting to be produced (RVP 9.0) and will slowly work its way to market.

The Chicago Discount today has come way back off its highs of 30-cents (discount per gallon) and is under 10-cents. That means wholesale prices are higher, and it also sets the stage for an increase in gas prices as the discount dries up and stations begin filling their tanks with the more expensive Summer gasoline.

However, prices may dip to $1.7X this weekend (remember the first non-member station under 1.80 gets a shout-out!), so I wouldn’t be in a hurry to fill up.

Speedway States may have a price increase early next week so stay tuned!

Also check out our new Twitter Updates, which are going to be much more raw and updated more often than the blog.

Patrick

 

2008: The Year Everything Happened

Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 10:45 AM:  I don’t have a good sense of what is in store the next week or so.  Monday’s price hike was at first blush a bit surprising, but then you look at the numbers and the retail price was about the same as the 0-cent margin price, so that’s why they hiked it.

I want to go back to a posting I made a year ago on GrandRapidsGasPrices.com, to start the "The Gas Game 2008 — Predictions" thread:

"This begins another year of trying to outwit the retailers and buy gas the day before a price hike. If past history holds, prices should climb into mid-January, then sell off for a few weeks, followed by some relentless hikes through the end of March. Next, relatively steady prices until the end of June. July through September … anything can happen, and then gentle drops through the last three months of the year. Some say we’ll hit $4 a gallon in 2008. Others say we’ll get a recession, and prices will fall significantly."

Other than the fact that hikes were relentless from March until June, all of this happened!  We got to $4.25, we got a recession, we got prices falling significantly.

I have to say that I found this year pretty stunning.  Consequently, for the moment at least, trying to get gas for $1.55 versus $1.65 seems kind of silly after gas was over $4 this summer.

Nevertheless, we will be back again in 2009 to play … The Gas Game!

Why aren’t gas prices lower?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008, 9:20 AM:  The following question has been posed to me several times the past month:  On July 15, oil was at $145 a barrel, and gasoline cost $4.25 a gallon at the pump in Grand Rapids.  Last week, oil was $72 a barrel, and gasoline cost $2.96 a gallon.  If the price of oil has been cut in half, why hasn’t the price of gas followed suit?

There are a few reasons for this, that I will try to explain.

1.  NYMEX.  Oil and gasoline futures are traded on the NYMEX, a public market with prices available for all to see.  The price of these future contracts helps set what is called the “spot” price, which is what is actually charged when real oil or gasoline changes hands at the wholesale level.  Sales and other taxes are not included in the NYMEX prices.  Looking at these futures prices, both oil and gasoline has dropped approximately 50%, so at least at the NYMEX level, these prices are correlated.

2.  Taxes.  There are three taxes applied to the wholesale price:  the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon, the state gas tax of 19 cents per gallon, and the sales tax of 6%.  So, that’s at least 50 cents of the retail price that is taxes, regardless of the wholesale price (except for the sales tax, of course).  In the past three months, those taxes have not been cut in half, so it would be hard for the retail price to drop 50%.

3.  Chicago Summer Premium.  I coined this term a few years ago to describe how, during the summer months, the wholesale price in the Midwest is usually higher than the price based on NYMEX.  The reasons for this have to do with reformulated gasoline, variations in supply and demand, and some other mysteries I’ve never solved.  A way to monitor this premium is to look at the wholesale numbers for selected Midwest cities that are posted on AXXIS.  The NYMEX/AXXIS difference was 20 cents on July 15, over a dollar in mid-September when Hurricane Ike struck, and is currently still 41 cents.  The AXXIS price has not dropped in half the past three months, and this may still be a hangover from the hurricanes.  It is also the first place I would look for gas gouging if I was the Attorney General.

4.  The Dynamics of the Retail Market.  As a journalist said to me last week, “Up like a rocket, down like a feather.”  We’ve documented time and again on this site how this works, with the big price hikes followed by the gentle day-to-day drops, while the wholesale price fluctuates in the background.  Our last price hike was during the September 12-14 weekend, when prices got up to $4.29 on 28th street.  Since then, the drops have been slow but sure — some days one or two cents, other days seven or eight cents.  In an area where there are several stations, one station decides to drop their prices a few cents because a cheaper shipment came in that day, and the other stations follow suit.  The point is that the retailers aren’t setting their prices based on trading on NYMEX.  They are setting it based on their costs, what their competitors are doing, and what sort of business they are getting.  Are the retailers making extra money right now?  I doubt it, as our monitoring indicates they are still dealing with high wholesale prices in the Midwest, and some of the gas in their tanks cost them $2.95 a gallon last week.  But prices continue to fall, slowly but surely.

All this leads to my latest prediction:  It looks to me like the chaos on Wall Street is dissipating, so energy prices are starting to stabilize.  I expect Speedway and friends will decide it is time to straighten up their prices, with a reset by the end of the week to $2.89.

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