Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Corner station challenges competitors to limbo then chickens out

Here's where I left the situation last week in Corner station hits two year low.
This evening, I saw that the corner station had lowered its price to $3.09, the lowest since at least December 2011.  That makes it the lowest since I've been keeping track.  I promptly drove over to the three stations down the street.  They were also at $3.09.  That means they are only a penny above their low for last year.

The question now becomes the one being asked in the cat macro--How low can we go?  Right now, the best answer I have comes from the GasBuddy widget at Econobrowser, which shows the Detroit average at just above $3.16 and still falling.  The local stations can be as much as a dime below the metro mean, so $3.06 would be my next target.
The corner station went below that price Monday, dropping what it was asking for regular to $3.04.  The two-year low for the entire neighborhood, not just the corner station.  The next day, it raised its price to $3.35.  So much for asking the rest of the stations in the area "how low can you go?"

As for how this fits in with the local and national trend, lists the metro Detroit average as $3.18, up from $3.14 on Monday.  Hm, looks like the corner station was correctly following its usual pattern be being a dime lower that day.  Right now, it's almost two dimes higher.  That's not going to last, especially if the stations down the street are still at $3.09 or lower.  Michigan's price history exaggerates Detroit's, bouncing from a low of $3.15 Monday to $3.24 now.  The corner station is even a dime above that.  As for the national average, it hit a low of $3.19 Monday and is up slightly to just below $3.20 now.  That's as low as the average has been since February 2011, before the Arab Spring.  It's also a recipe for stable prices, not higher ones.

Crude oil prices indicate steady or decreasing prices as well. shows that WTI has crashed through the $94.00 support level, while Brent went up to $106.40, then fell to $105.81.  That might be the source of the price spike, as Brent drives gas prices.  Just the same, those are still the lowest prices in five months and also five to seven dollars lower than last year.  $2.98 by Christmas locally could still happen.  In fact, Michigan Gas Prices lists 15 stations that are already selling gas cheaper than that.  They're not afraid to limbo!

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