Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The corner station charges into No Mans Land for the first time in 2015

In Gas falls to start 2015, I predicted that the corner station would raise its prices.
On Saturday, I walked past the corner station and the price was $1.78.  Later, I drove past the three stations down the street and all of them were selling regular for $1.85.  These are not only the lowest prices I've seen for them since I moved here, but also the first time I recall prices continuing to drop after the new year.

As for which of the prices, $1.78 or $1.85 is more reasonable, it's the latter, as the Detroit average is $1.94 and holding steady for two days.  $1.85 is right on target, while $1.78 is well below what the market suggests it should be.  I would buy gas at the corner the next chance I get before the price rises.
On my way to the new house Monday morning, the corner station was still selling regular at $1.78, so I did exactly what I said I would do; I filled up Ruby's tank.*  It was a good thing I did.  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.  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.

It could be worse.  WOOD-TV reported gas prices back up above $2/gallon in Grand Rapids yesterday.

The price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas rose to above $2 per gallon in West Michigan Monday.
I don't expect our prices to rise that high this week here in Detroit.  After all, as WOOD-TV reported and Oil-Price.Net confirms, crude oil futures collapsed this week.  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.  Wednesday's trading should be interesting to watch.

*Ruby's odometer rolled over 89,000 miles yesterday.  Stay tuned for another driving update.

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