Freaky February for Gas Prices, Weather, Etc.

Comment on the February 5 prediction:  I predicted a Thursday hike, but we ended up with a rare Saturday hike, to $3.49.  So, I was WRONG.

Thursday, February 20, 2014, 2:30PM:  It has been a difficult game to play this month.  We’ve had two rare Saturday hikes (Feb. 8 and 15) due to jumps in the wholesale market on Fridays, while competition in the retail sector has been knocking those hikes back down.  Last night, I calculated a price to retailers in Michigan of about $3.40, but prices are all over the place this morning, with a low of $3.32 on Alpine Avenue.  As I write this post, there are reports on GasBuddy of a hike to $3.65 at some Speedway’s in town, although the Speedway web site doesn’t show it to be the case.  If that is correct, that’s a bit of reach compared to recent price hikes, and that price may not hold up very long.

So, fill up for $3.40 if you can, but I don’t have anything to predict.  I do have a reading assignment though:  Michigan drivers pay some of the highest taxes in the region on gasoline.  -Ed A.

Updated: February 20, 2014 — 2:36 pm


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  1. after back to back Saturday hikes the last two weeks, not sure that they will be “rare” going forward. CBOB is up a couple cents at mid day, reversing NYMEX trends, so a third Saturday in a row is not out of the question IMHO!

  2. Chicago spot ended up 6 2/3 cent today. Up around a dime in the last week. Most of the Speedway dominated markets I looked at the average price is only 3-5 cents higher than just before the last week’s Saturday hike. Ie margins are worse than before last Saturday’s hike. Rather compelling math for a third straight Saturday hike in most markets IMHO.

  3. Gas is going up to $3.65 today in Grand Rapids.

  4. Let them do it. Hopefully this time around the economy will tank really well when we start paying $4.25 a gallon in May, and someone may start wondering…

  5. Good call, Jim. I’m still wondering about those $3.65’s that were reported for a short period of time on Thursday — Jenison, Grandville, etc. Makes we wonder if an e-mail went out on Thursday that ordered a Saturday hike, and some of the station workers read it too fast.

  6. All Speedways in South Bend are now at $3.65 today (Saturday).

  7. Speedway spiking to 3.599 in sw Ohio. No one else joining in, YET….

  8. You know who (they rhyme with Speedway) just cranked her up to $3.65 between Muncie & Anderson. Meanwhile a few stations in Anderson just dropped to $3.29. That will be short lived of course.

    Ok any takers on next Saturday’s spike to $3.85?? Looks like we have a new norm.

  9. GREEDway price spike in the Greater Cincinnati area starting 9-10AM. Memo price here $3.59. I figured we were in for a Saturday spike when CBOB eclipsed RBOB yesterday. This is the third straight Friday bid up on Chicago and you know what followed. I guess that’s what happens when Goldman-Sachs are running things.

  10. Same here in Flint MI. Forget spiking at noon, and in a controlled wave. 80% rollover to the new decreed norm by 10am. Way to rock the three-peat, speculator D-bags.

  11. Any takers for $4 gas in April or even March as we switch to “Summer Blend”? Then $5 gas by July.

  12. With two stations in Waterford at 3.79 today, 4.00 wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

  13. As usual Greedway will have to change their prices twice in one day since they always go to extremes. While they were foaming at the mouths on their pretty lil’ $3.65 price sign, the Pilot and Shell stations next door increased ONLY to $3.59.

  14. In Sturgis, the initial jump went from around $2.95 to $3.49 and then a day or two later was hiked to $3.65. Ridiculous.

  15. “…while competition in the retail sector has been knocking those hikes back down.”

    This is exactly how it should work, people.

    I don’t like paying a lot for gas, but competition and free markets always end up putting things back in our favor. Getting angry and calling people names isn’t a civil or mature response, IMO.

  16. competition and free markets?

    how much competition and free markets are there when you have several (8) stations between Westfield and Noblesville, IN, and they are all between 3.64 and 3.65?

    A few stations are still holding on to 3.38 but you’ll see a lot more 3.64’s than 3.38’s.

    We can keep telling ourselves that competition and free markets work, and they do. In other states. Indiana and North Carolina have the same gasoline taxes, yet they’re not under the grip of Speedway, and feel free to compare prices here and there.

  17. You’re missing a key point: Even if Speedway is the market leader, they can’t force anybody else to raise their prices. So when a spike isn’t warranted, we’ve seen many cases in which nobody follows.

    I’ve compared my market (Indy) to others across the country, and 90% of the time we have FAR more variability between the high and low prices than anywhere else outside the Midwest.

  18. You know, Saturdays are the most excellent times for the price hikes when you think about it. People are not watching the news, news rooms are mostly vacant, reporters in the field are practically non-existent, societal watchdogs are busy elsewhere, and people are not locked into offices and production floors talking about how they saw the price going up. The super speedy chain could get a new idea of when would be best……

  19. Might now have to wait until Saturday this week as wholesale and spot prices keep rising,

  20. Ren, if anyone could ‘prove beyond a reasonable doubt’ things would be a bit more exciting. But, nobody seems to care… The fact that once in a blue moon a spike fails (figure how many spikes a year, vs how many failed) I’d say the record is there.

    Variability is nice to have, but in practice, thanks to zone pricing one may not be able to take advantage of lower prices. Are you going to drive to Tipton to fill up 10c cheaper?

    Indiana has the wildest price swings in the country, and I think few people (especially people who have lived outside Indiana) will argue it’s good for consumers.

    Personally, I drive a 38mpg car and my wife works from home, so it’s not like I care much about $3 vs $4 for myself. But my customers, clients, suppliers, business partners, etc. do care. And that’s where my bottom line is.

  21. Tipton? I’m talking about differences just a few miles away in the same county or suburb. There’s a ton of variability around here, within an easy and convenient drive.

    And failed spikes happen a few times a year. Hardly once in a blue moon. Let’s not let hyperbole ruin a good discussion.

    The “wild” price swings are no problem for those of us who are aware.

  22. my previous post should have read “might NOT have to wait until Saturday”. Ed concurs.

  23. Flints spiking to 375 even as I type. And to the apologists…? Nice free market. the only freedom consumers have is to rush and buy before whichever station nearest spikes. Gas is a necessity for daily functioning for 80% of the workforce… its not like deciding to have wine with every meal or not, or kroger instead of hagen daaz.

  24. Wow, apologists? Again, that kind of hyperbole ruins these discussions.

    It’s a free market. You can choose which station to purchase gas from. You can choose what kind of vehicle to purchase and drive (or ride in). You can choose how much discretionary driving you do. And it’s absolutely a choice, as you point out, when to fill up.

    Good Lord, it’s chilling the kind of thinking that is spreading through this country.

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