Gas prices: they think we are frogs

Comment on the April 2 posting: The Saudi story was true, and we saw two hikes, first to $3.69, and then $3.79. CORRECT.

Sunday, April 16, 2023, 9:00 PM: After some I.T. work on this site, we’re back open for updates. The $3.79’s that you are seeing around Michigan, and similar prices elsewhere, are consistent with wholesale prices plus the high end of profit that the retailers collect on a gallon of gas. In other words, we have more than 30 cents that prices could fall to hit the 0-margin price of about $3.47. How we got here is notable, though, with a few 10-cent hikes while margins were already on the high side. Feels like the story of the frog in slowly-boiling water. In our world, that would mean that instead of having a big, 30-cent hike that some retailers might not go along with, the game right now is to have smaller, 10-cent hikes that are more likely to be matched by competitors.

Will this continue? Probably not, given that in the past, we always seem to fall back into the classic Gas Game pattern eventually. My prediction for the week is that prices will decline slowly, unless you are in Grandville where the new K&G is keeping prices at $3.39.

Updated: April 16, 2023 — 8:32 pm


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  1. Hate to burst the optimist bubble, but GREEDway is leading a $0.20/gal. charge back to $3.799 in Northwest Ohio. There were some $3.599s around, but don’t look for that for long! ?

  2. $3.799 jump in sw Ohio as well.

  3. Even though there was basically no retreats at many Speedways, Speedway has restored last week’s $4.29 hike today. New strategy to raise average margins?

  4. Margins have definitely increased. I guess Big Red figured, “hell, every other business sector has increased their profit margins, why not us?”.

  5. ChrisDG74….Certainly some dealer costs have increased during these inflationary times, like rent and utilities. Whether they are covering it or more than covering I don’t know. An 11c drop in spot today helps some more.

  6. 3rd week in a row, a reset to $4..29-4.39 in IL. Each time some 20c above the historical hike margins. And each time never let margin drop nearly as low as historically the case before hiking, It sure looks like a permanent change in target margins in IL. Hope not.

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