Friday, March 14, 2014

Corner station charged into No Man's Land then retreated

Last week, I described how the latest engagement in the gas war went as expected.
Early Friday morning, the corner station had already lowered its price to $3.75.  By noon, it had dropped it again to $3.69.  Yesterday, it had matched the rest at $3.59.  It only took four days.
I then made another prediction.
Based on this pattern, I'd be surprised if the three stations down the block increased prices this week, although the corner station might still charge into No Man's Land.
That's exactly what happened.  Wednesday morning, the corner station jacked up its price to $3.85, while the three stations down the street held firm at $3.59.   By yesterday morning, the corner station had dropped all the way to $3.63.  By this afternoon, it had finally matched the rest at $3.59.  Charge into No Man's Land over.

As for the final prediction, that "the next price move that will stick will be a drop to $3.55 or $3.49 in a week or two," I'm not so sure.  Gas Buddy shows that the national average has resumed its climb after stalling out just short of $3.48 last week and is now at a plateau of $3.50.  As for the metro Detroit mean, it hit a low of $3.61 a few days ago then shot up to $3.69 before falling to $3.68 today.  Based on that and today's increases in crude oil and RBOB gasoline, a price drop next week is not in the cards.

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