Tag: indiana

Is being in a Speedway state a good thing?

First, an answer to the question I asked in the poll recently. The majority was right, as currently Michigan (9.4) and Indiana (8.9) are above 7.5 cents, while Ohio is at 6.5.

Now, the next question. Is being in a Speedway state a good thing? You do get roller coaster rides of prices, with big 20-30 cent spikes followed by prices falling 2-3 cents a day otherwise. But on average, how good are our gas prices. Hey, I’ve got numbers, let’s see where they fall:

Spreadsheet of tax adjusted Speedway state averages, minus the national average from GasBuddy.

Simply put, almost every state Speedway is in has a lower average than the national average. In states where Speedway dominates it’s even lower. Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are 11.1, 9.9 and 9.2 cents below the national average (tax adjusted) this year. Minnesota’s SuperAmericas (which will soon be sold, along with the Marathon infrastructure there) are 7.1 cents below the national average, and Wisconsin and West Virginia are also below. Only Illinois and Kentucky are above the national average.

So the big question is, what do you want? Gas prices that are on average below the national average and volatile prices? Or prices that are steady, but higher? I’ll don’t like Speedway’s way of doing business, but I’ll take lower prices every day of the week.

It will be interesting to see what Minnesota’s prices will do when Speedway is gone. The guy that gave me the idea to start the Spike Line has a similar thing he does, and he might not have to do that anymore.

Spike looming tomorrow

We should see a spike tomorrow. We have seen prices fall rapidly to meet the wholesale, which spent the last two days going up. Indiana has crossed the spike line, and Michigan is close behind. The big question is the price. Currently in Indianapolis we have seen all Kroger stations go up to $2.69. I don’t expect the spike to reach those levels. With the current spike lines at $2.41 in Indiana, and $2.423 in Michigan, we should expect a spike in the $2.51 area. For Michigan and NW Indiana, this could be 5-10 cents more.

For NW Indiana, this is due to the premium the Chicago Spot RBOB has over regular. For Michigan, just call it a hunch. The numbers don’t look spike worthy, but Michigan has been 6-10 cents above Indiana for about a week. This either means the gas stations have been greedy, or we are seeing supply issues. I really couldn’t tell you what’s going on without some spot prices from the racks in Michigan. But right now I can only speculate.

The Speedway Effect, Cincy style

Recently there was an article and news story on WCPO in Cincinnati about Speedway. In it they said a lot of things TheGasGame readers would already know, plus something I found interesting at first, and one outright falsehood.

They come right out of the gate letting us know Speedway’s secret: Real estate.

“We wanted to know how Speedway is able to change its prices market-wide without fear of what the station across the street is going to do. What we discovered is that in most cases, there is no station across the street.”

They used Google Maps and Street View to confirm that 63 out of 92 had no direct competition. This is how they are able to raise prices and not worry about the competition. I had never thought of this before. I started mapping Indianapolis Speedways, and sure enough, 30 of the 52 stations there have no direct competition.

I thought about this revelation a little further, and it really isn’t a Speedway thing. I found about the same ratio of other branded stations have stand alone stations compared to ones having competition. And then, it is also rare to see a Wal*Mart next to a Meijer, or Target; and a Lowes next to a Home Depot. Seems Speedway’s secret isn’t much of a secret at all. Not to mention they don’t do anything to prove this is why Speedway raises prices the way they do.

Then there is the outright falsehood.

“The vast majority of Speedway locations jumped to $2.65 with no corresponding spike in oil prices. Oil futures did go up 3.2 percent the day before, but gas prices in Cincinnati shot up by nearly four times that amount. And oil prices were actually falling while our gas prices were rising that Tuesday.”

The article and story was run on the 25th, but the spike up in prices happened on the 17th. Oil went up on the 17th, not down. Also, oil does not set the price of gas in this area (the PADD II). That would be the Chicago Mercantile trading of the Chicago Spot.

An analysis of the Chicago Spot from November 9th to the 17th shows that while it rose from $1.8218 to $1.9224, the average price of gas fell, almost 11 cents in Indiana, 9 cents in Michigan and 13 cents in Ohio. The Speedway spike caused averages in those three areas to go up 17 cents in Indiana, 11 cents in Michigan (with higher UP prices included), and 22 cents in Ohio.

They were far from jumping up with no correlating spike. They did not even meet the difference in each area. A 10 cent rise added to how the average fell in each area shows Speedway undercut Indiana by 4 cents, Michigan 8 cents and 1 cent in Ohio.

The rest is stuff we here at TheGasGame have been preaching a long time, long before even I came along. Speedway is the leader, selling 1 of every 5 gallons of gas. They have more corporate stations that any other. After Speedway rises, others follow, a statement that flies in the face of the earlier revelation that Speedway stations have no local competition.

If you haven’t visited the “Speedway Effect” article here at TheGasGame, I suggest you do so. You’ll learn far more accurate information than you did with this article. Also, if you have followed me at my Fair Price threads in the GasBuddy forums in Indianapolis, Indiana and Michigan, you can see I have discovered the pattern, and can pretty accurately predict when a spike will happen.

My new feature here at TheGasGame continues that. It’s called “The Spike Line”. It is a new name for what I have been doing all along in the “Fair Price” threads. It’s just a more accurate title. When the Spike Line is crossed, you can expect a spike up in prices from Speedway, it’s that simple. If there are other circumstances to cause or prevent a spike I’ll let you know that there as well. It’s just another way that TheGasGame is helping you save money. It’s one of the big reason’s I am proud to be a part of it.

A weak dollar puts us in another pickle

Chicago Spot: $2.11 UP 0.0616
Fair price adjustment: 0.7948
Fair Price: 2.7662
Average selling price 2.7150
Margin over cost + profit: -0.0512

We are in dangerous territory. The commodities market is up yet again, this time on a weak dollar. Fair price is at break even, which can mean a spike is close at hand. But, we have already had a spike this week, so another one is not as likely to come. But we just came off a weekend where the margin was thin, and Speedway might not want to repeat that again. But the last time commodities spiked up like this (in May) Speedway lagged behind so much that Indiana gas stations lost money on the sale of fuel. But… well, you get the idea.

It would be prudent to watch the prices as they may climb going into the weekend. Indiana could see $2.75-2.80, Michigan and NW Indiana could be 5-10 cents higher. Or, we could see prices stagnate or drop very slowly… only the people in Ohio know what will happen.

Gas, Oil on the up and up (and up, and up…)

Chicago Spot: $2.03 UP 0.0079
Fair price adjustment: 0.7914
Michigan Fair Price: 2.6792
Michigan Average selling price 2.5970
Margin over cost + profit: -0.0822

The dam has gotta break sometime. Gas usually falls at least 2 cents on non-spike days, but over the weekend it didn’t budge, or only went down a couple cents, depending on where you live. The average in Michigan is only .3¢ cheaper than the Thursday spike price. Stagnation like that shows stations are feeling the pinch. The fair price is 8 cents above the current average, too.

Expect a spike tomorrow. Most of Indiana will see 2.65-2.70, while Michigan will be 4-6 cents higher, and NW Indiana will be 5-10 cents higher.

Surge in National markets makes spike loom near

I meant to post this last night, but I got called away for diaper duty, and then bedtime. My apologies.

There was no DOE report yesterday because of the Columbus Day holiday. So will Speedway treat today as a Thursday or a Wednesday? If it is a Wednesday, they may wait for the DOE report before acting with a spike. If it’s a Thursday they may spike at 9am as they normally do. Indiana could go to $2.50-2.55, Michigan and NW Indiana about 5 cents higher.

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