Monday, January 12, 2015

All stations retreat in gas price war

I expressed my surprise at the price movements in my old neighborhood in The corner station charges into No Mans Land for the first time in 2015.
When I returned to the old house yesterday, the corner station had jacked up its price to $1.99.  I didn't expect that much of a price increase!

Meanwhile, the three stations down the street actually lowered their price for regular to $1.83.  Based on the Detroit average of $1.92 from Gas Buddy, that's a reasonable level.  It should pull the corner station down by the end of the week.
I ended up being right about that.  The corner station lowered its price when I returned on Saturday and Sunday.  Unfortunately, I was wrong about how far it would go and what effect its price would have on the other stations in the neighborhood.
As for what that price will be, I'd be surprised if it were lower than $1.83.  Prices all across the metro area are increasing, with Monday's average hitting a bottom of $1.90 before rising more than two cents Tuesday.  I wouldn't be surprised if the neighborhood stations stabilize between $1.85 and $1.89 by Saturday.
Instead of the corner station pulling the other stations' prices up, the other stations pulled the corner station's price down.  This weekend, all four outlets were selling regular for $1.79.  That's the lowest I've seen the three stations down the street and only a penny higher than the low for the corner station.  I suppose I should have paid more attention to the price movements at the wholesale level than to the local retail environment.
Tuesday's close for WTI was $47.93, $2.11 lower than the $50 WOOD-TV reported for Monday, which had been the price floor for the past couple of weeks.  Brent also fell through its previous support level of $55, closing at $51.10.  RBOB gasoline followed suit, closing at $1.35, a dime lower than it for the first report of the year.
Oil ended up in Wednesday's trading, as Reuters reported Oil snaps four-day losing streak after U.S. crude stockpiles drop.
Oil closed up on Wednesday for the first time in five days as traders took stock of the market's rout after crude prices lost nearly 10 percent over two days and benchmark Brent fell to below $50 a barrel.
Brent's front-month contract LCOc1 settled at $51.15 a barrel, up 5 cents from Tuesday's close. It hit a session low of $49.66 in European trade, after euro zone consumer prices in December fell by more than expected.

U.S. crude CLc1 settled up 72 cents at $48.65, after rallying earlier to $49.31.
Those turned out to be dead cat bounces, as Oil-Price.Net lists Friday's closes for WTI and Brent as $48.36 and $50.11, respectively.  In addition, RBOB is down to $1.32.  Gas might have just a little way down to go before heading up again.

Gas Buddy suggests that's possible, too, as the Detroit average is $1.85.  I suppose the stations in my old neighborhood could drop down to $1.75, but lower than that would be pushing it.

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