Do We Have A New Leader Of The Price Hikes?

Sunday, January 22, 2023, 9 AM: Trying to provide a comment about the previous prediction is the topic of this post. We did get a hike, to $3.45, so filling up for $3.12 made a lot of sense. But how we get there reflects some challenges, and opportunities, with the current approach to The Gas Game.

I heard from a regular reader of this site recently, who wondered if Speedway had changed its behavior when it comes to gas prices, at least here in Michigan. I have been wondering the same thing, as they haven’t been as aggressive about price hikes for quite a while now, going back to the merger with 7-Eleven. For the past two hikes, we’ve been seeing the following: (1) prices drop into the 0-cent margin zone; (2) *Marathon* stations in west Michigan attempt to initiate a hike by moving their prices up 25 cents or so; (3) in places like Lowell, nearby competitors also hike prices, but in other places (e.g. Standale) there is a collective shrug; (4) one or two days go by with some Marathons reverting to the old price; (5) then there is a silent whistle and nearly everyone adopts the new, hiked price. Step #5 happened yesterday here in west Michigan, and now most stations are at $3.45 a gallon.

Now, remember that the Marathon corporation used to own Speedway, until 2021. So maybe it is fair to say that the Marathon folks used to use Speedway to nudge prices around, and now are using their own name-branded stations. Interesting, though, that competing stations haven’t been excited to follow the leader lately.

The opportunity for drivers? Keep an eye on Marathon. If some of their stations are in Step #2 above, you have some time to fill up at that old price, maybe a day or two.

We’ll see how long this Gas Game tactic lasts. -EA

Updated: January 22, 2023 — 9:10 am


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  1. I kinda figured this to be the case. Marathon owns much of the infrastructure, like here in Indianapolis where even if you are a BP, your tankers are getting their gas from a Marathon terminal. Owning Speedway made it easy to nudge prices in the right direction. Now that it’s gone, we are seeing the man behind the curtain.

  2. Same scenario in Allendale – Marathon to 3.45 on Thursday, no one following suit until Saturday. Thankfully I was spooked enough to fill everything up on Friday

  3. Family Express has become the price leader here in NW Indiana

  4. Whole bunch of $3.79/$3.89 now at Speedway in Chicagoland. Hike is about at the usual target margin this time

  5. Filling on the dips. Already got mower and tiller gas needed before Memorial Day. My general strategy has been Chicago spot plus tax and find a loss leader in Indiana. GasBuddy helped locate the cheap stuff. Road trips always seem to work well doing this.

  6. I think you’re on to something with Marathon. I saw a few stations in the Indy area have gone up to $3.599 so they are attempting to set the new price.

  7. Those Marathon stations that you are seeing move earlier than others are likely owned by GPM, they own Fas Mart, Shore Stop, Scotchman, BreadBox, Young’s, Li’L Cricket, Next Door, Village Pantry, Apple Market, Jiffi Stop, Admiral, Roadrunner Markets, E-Z Mart, Cigarette City & Town Star Brands. They appear to be moving to 3.599 today.

  8. South Bend IN – Seven Phillips 66 to $3.59 today & 2 Marathon. ND Speedway $3.24. Costco $3.16.

    Niles MI – The 2 Admiral now at $3.59. The Phillips 66 $3.49. WMT $3.16

  9. South Bend IN – 1 Family Express now $3.55. Other 2 at $3.24 & $3.19 still.

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