Sunday, March 9, 2014

Latest engagement in the gas war went as expected

Here's how the situation stood last week as the corner station escalated the gas war.
The corner station raised its price today, but not to $3.59.  Oh, no, it was not content to see the rest of the neighborhood outlets.  It had to raise the stakes by increasing its price to $3.79.  That matched its high from a little over a year ago and actually put its price higher than a year ago for the first time this year, if not for the past four months.  Good thing I filled up last night!

As for what I expect, it will be that the stations down the street will hold firm and the corner station will eventually retreat to the $3.59 I forecast.
That's exactly what ended up happening.  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.

Gas Buddy shows that the national average stalled out just short of $3.48 three days ago and looks like it's starting to glide down from there.  According to the chart, it's the first time the price has actually decreased during the past month.  The Detroit average is showing even more softness, as it has floated down from just below $3.65 four days ago to $3.62 and still falling today.  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.  In fact, I think the next price move that will stick will be a drop to $3.55 or $3.49 in a week or two.

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