Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The gas price rollercoaster jumped the tracks in South Haven

WOOD-TV has the story of an old-fashioned gas price war.

Prices were back up to the normal range by Monday evening.

While price competition is alive and well, an outright gas price war was something I haven't seen in a decade and never thought I'd see again. Surprise!

As for the local situation, we should be so lucky. Since the last report, gas dropped two more cents to $3.79 for about a week. Then last Thursday, the station at the corner raised its price all the way up to $3.95, while the three stations a few blocks away held firm at $3.79 for the day. The next day, I ran an errand and found that at least one of the three stations had joined the one at the corner, while the one across the street went up to $3.89. I put $20 of gas in at the lower priced station on the way back, as I didn't know if the price would go up. It turned out that it didn't. Yesterday, the station at the corner dropped its price to $3.89, where it remains tonight.

As for why the price shot up here, I have no idea. It certainly wasn't crude oil prices.

Last Wednesday's headline at Reuters read Oil falls as global economic data dims demand outlook.
Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday as disappointing economic data from China and Europe reinforced concerns about slowing growth and a weakening demand for petroleum, even as supportive U.S. data strengthened the dollar.

U.S. November RBOB gasoline futures retreated a second straight session, falling 2.5 percent, helping pressure U.S. crude to a two-month low.
Brent November crude fell $3.40 to settle at $108.17 a barrel. Wednesday's $107.67 low was the lowest price since September 20.
In addition to the slump in U.S. gasoline, which settled 6.97 cents lower, heating oil joined in the retreat, falling 5.91 cents.

Gasoline's settlement left front-month futures down 54.25 cents from where October futures settled and went off the board last Friday.
Friday's headline wasn't any better: Oil dips as weak global economy offsets rise in U.S. jobs.
Oil prices fell in volatile trading on Friday and posted weekly losses as a fragile global economy and uncertainty about Europe's debt crisis offset support from a better-than-expected U.S. employment report.
Brent November crude fell 56 cents to settle at $112.02 a barrel on Friday, recovering after falling to $110.54. For the week, Brent slipped 37 cents, or 0.33 percent.

Brent fell back below the 50-day moving average of $112.38 and the 200-day moving average of $112.12, technical levels closely monitored by chart-watching traders.
U.S. RBOB gasoline futures managed a nearly penny gain on Friday, settling at $2.9525 a gallon, up 0.96 cent.
Today continued the trend, with Oil dips on growth concerns as part of the headline.
Oil prices eased on Monday in choppy trading on concerns that slower economic growth in China and the debt crisis in Europe will curb demand for petroleum, while the potential for Middle East turmoil to disrupt supplies limited losses.
Brent November crude edged down 20 cents to settle at $111.82 a barrel, recovering after falling to a session low of $110.54. Prices reached $112.24 during the session, putting prices above the 200-day moving average of $112.15, a technical level closely monitored by chart-watching traders.
U.S. RBOB gasoline fell 2 percent, dropping nearly 6 cents to settle at $2.8931 a gallon. The trading range from $2.8890 and $2.9729 kept gasoline between the 100-day moving average at $2.8780 and the 200-day moving average of $2.9729.
None of that indicates rising prices. If anything, gas prices should have fallen.

As for where those prices should be, the calculator at Econobrowser, that closing price of $111.82 a barrel for Brent should yield a price at the pump of $3.63, within a penny of where it should have been two weeks ago. That means gas is overpriced and should drop again. That it hasn't isn't good news, so no Professor Farnsworth tonight.

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