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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Prices Dropping...

While my mass mailer is down, I'm in the position of sending out some rather inglamorous emails that the media have been reporting on.
I'm only sorry that I couldn't get the latest info out to everyone...
I am thankful that the media has acted on the little notes I sent out this morning and, it's through them that I have been able to get the word out of the direction gasoline pricing has been heading the last few days.


Anyways, the word for the wise is out there now and I couldn't be happier. Today that elusive dollar a litre doesn't look so far away and we might have been successful in keeping millions on the Rock the past couple of weeks!

Regards and until next time!


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sometimes You Win One...
Every now and then I get to thinking that maybe I should just quit doing this predicting stuff and just "let it be", you know, let it slide and take it all as it comes.
Then I woke up...
When I'm tracking daily spot prices for gasoline and heating oils I am often to think of everyone else who might be a little worse off than myself. I'm thinking back almost a week and a half ago when I noticed the big drop in spot pricing that occurred immediately after the start of the Middle East ceasefire and the threat of attacks against US airliners from England.
I noticed in the daily numbers that oil happened to be going through a little "troubled period" and prices were in a precipitous decline.
I used it for a test...
I decided that, after the news broke that I would see how many of these independents out there would drop back their prices before the Petroleum Pricing Office would and that I would challenge "Big Oil" with the opportunity to compete- you know, let them know we were watching them.Gawd love the Open Line radio shows for giving the opportunity to do so because everyone who listenedout there heard it. NTV came calling and they gave opportunity to tell the numbers again...I had them and they do too.Anyone want to chance dropping pricing?...Nope...
Spot pricing for gasoline-for the time period in question from the 8th of August to the 17th fell by almost nine cents a liter and this was not being reflected in the prices anywhere at the pumps around the Province.
Because the PPO set pricing based on the past months activity as of the 11th of the month allowing for that three day time period for notification to the oil companies I said,"Let's see what the companies do...". Spot pricing from that day (11th) averaged 67 cents for the whole month and we saw a 2/10ths of a cent drop that, according to my numbers, was warranted for time period measured.
August 10/06 numbers showed a 58.81 cent per litre cost and that number trended like that for the next couple of business days. I knew they had leeway and plenty of it but the companies never took the chance to avail themselves of capturing their "market share".
Somewhere along the line, someone was making a hell of a lot of money...almost 23.5 cents a litre over and above the basic costs for the stuff in the first place.
I knew the numbers would be there for the PPO to interrupt the regular time period for setting of pricing but a quick call to the local Open Line radio shows and an appearance on a local TV station may have set the Petroleum Pricing Office into acting what I was thinking-that this was an extraordinary downwards pricing measurement that was gross in the extreme and that it had to be addressed- the sooner the better.
They did act earlier than the anticipated and the result is a 9.6 cent a litre decrease this morning and one "pissed off" retailer in the Grand Falls area that supposedly "lost thousands".
Let me say this...
Since the eigth, you made in excess of what was the acceptible under the rules and had plenty of room to maneuver and lower prices but failed to do so, and you say you "lost thousands"?...
What a crock!...
What you told us was that you took the consumer for as much as you could while the arse fell out of the basic cost over the intervening nine business days and you tried to fleece us for a few more days up to the Tuesday re-adjustment time right?
Uh uh..
Sorry...The world doesn't work like that any more. The fact is is that, if a hurricane brewed up in the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow morning and world supply got disrupted, you'd be the first to say that you need an immediate upwards adjustment to pricing to allow for that and we'd all have to give in to that.
Don't hand me that melarchy that you "lost thousands" and try to pass that one off on me.
I got the figures to back me up.
If you're reading this blog, have a look at the latest spots yourself and judge...
August 07/06...68.03/Lt
August 08/06...66.93
August 09/06...64.93
August 10/06...58.81
August 11/06...60.73/Lt
PPO steps in and re-adjust pricing to reflect past months pricing based on 67.46 cents a litre or $1.22.3 cents a litre to the consumer.
August 14/06...58.81/Lt
August 15/06...59.67
August 16/06...58.84
August 17/06...57.49
August 18/06...58.37/Lt
PPO step in and re-adjust pricing to the consumer by 9.6 cents a litre down to reflect market conditions. My new fix is 58.63 a litre.
I got my numbers.
Show me yours....
(p.s) Thanks to the PPO for rolling pricing back when they did.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Petrochemical Program-Something Missing Here...

I'm often asked which of the points programs are a benefit whenever you go out to get gas. Interesting to note that I don't use some gas stations for the simple reason that I don't get anything from them so, sometimes I can be the discerning client.

Sometimes I like to treat myself...

I couldn't help but notice that another one of the big companies is trying to rope the consumer into a huge line of credit and interest rates all at the detriment of the consumer. I sometimes think that a lot of us are just plain stupid. Now Petro-Canada wants you to apply for a credit card/ Petro-points card that gets you two cents off a litre. They also want you to believe that that 47% crude cost makes up part of the cost at the pumps...Now there's hogwash! Here's Canada's oil company hauling away Newfoundland and Labrador crude off our shores from Hibernia at $13.00 cost to the wellhead and their share of the "daily oil" is selling for almost $75 bucks a barrel.

Perhaps you want to re-jig that 47% number?...Don't you know that the refining sector has been Petro's moneymaker too, with about $30 bucks a barrel going in the bank?...My!

Brutal it is!

Surprise Canada!

Ultramar offers the two cents off provided you buy more than 25 litres and Canadian Tire, with their coupons, you can do a little better through exchanges of Canadian Tire money for in-store product and some cases, cash.

Both programs don't charge you interest on a credit card for that stuff back even though they have their credit cards too.They have other viable options.

What is it with "Canada's Oil Company?"...

Here on the Rock, they charge the most expensive prices for heating oils in the St. John's area and now the Petro guys want to nail you hand in hand with the banks.

I say "No thanks"...

Here's something to consider if I still don't have you thinking...

A quart of oil here costs the consumer $3.99 at the local Canadian Tire and that can be quickly had at the cost of two fill-ups at their gas bars. Last time I got a quart at Petro-Canada, and thank God they sold all their branches in Newfoundland,it cost me $4.99. That was a while before they sold the shop to North Atlantic.

Considering that, on the mainland, Canadian Tire gives money back on fuel as well as dollars to consumers to shop at Sobey's, then maybe PetroCanada should consider the grocery business. They've already started on the banking industry.

Trouble is, the banking industry are seen as crooks...(ahem!)

Two cents off with an application for a line of credit too?...No sale!

Hey PetroCanada. Here's a message for the comunications people and the ones at the top trying to turn a profit...

How about something tangible to MATCH what Canadian Tire gives?...How about competing with them more rather than trying to squirm a few more people into getting a high interest credit card...

I'm just plain glad that they're almost off the Rock.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sorry I haven't been posting lately but things have been really busy on my end. I'll try and keep up again though, I dunno. Here's my latest release warning of an imminent price increase coming to Newfoundland and Labrador consumers of heating and stove oil product.

Some warnings to governments provincially and federally here. They might want to dive in and heed the warnings. Troble here is that, wherever you might be,if you use heating oils, you might also be affected.

If you have any questions on the release, drop me a line.

Early Interruption-Heating Oil

Numbers show an unprecedented summer increase in heating oil pricing

News Release

Paradise, NL, August 05/06 – According to numbers that the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices are tracking on a daily basis, consumers of heating and stove oils could be facing an increase to consumer pricing as early as Tuesday, August 08/06. Numbers are showing that the Interrupter formula criteria have been met and that means an early adjustment in pricing, in this case, upwards by 2.23 cents per litre.

“What makes this increase almost unprecedented is the fact that we are still in a “non-demand” season for heating and stove oil product and this pricing has been heading in the opposite direction,” according to George Murphy the group’s researcher. “Numbers for heating and stove oils are showing a disturbing trend this year with very little or no decrease in pricing ahead of the winter demand season. Because the numbers for heating and stove oils are still up, we could be facing one of the most contentious heating seasons this coming winter,” added Murphy.

To complicate matters, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro recently applied to the Public Utilities Board for rate increases that could come to the consumer in early January 2007 one of the reasons for the coming increase being higher crude oil acquisition costs. “This is a double whammy for any consumer looking to heat their home this winter.

While consumers could be looking at the adjustment in pricing, they could also be looking at another increase when the regular adjustment period coming on August 15th. Numbers need to drop back over the next five business days considerably before we see no upwards adjustment again by that time,” according to Murphy.

“This is a warning sign to both the federal and provincial governments that consumers in this province and this country face a very hard winter as regards to keeping warm if the present trends in world energy pricing and usage continues. We are now some 6 cents a litre higher than the same time period for last year and that should be saying something. The federal government needs to re-instate home retrofit programming in this country to help out those in need and both governments need to return some of their royalty monies back to the people who own the resources that profits are taken from,” Murphy said. “There are options but neither government has been producing any to the public over the past couple of weeks and we need to hear something sooner rather than later.”


For more information, contact

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
709.685.6186 cellular


Here’s what I have over the past while since the last adjustment in pricing. Keep an eye out on the gasoline numbers as well as they are also pointing up for the end of the regulation period.

Heating/Stove oil = 56.02/Litre Gasoline = 64.48/Litre

DATE Crude Oil Heating Gasoline Canadian vs US $
$ US Cents/Lt Cents/Lt
July 12/06 74.95 57.90 66.06 $1.1335 = $1 US
July 13/06 76.70 59.73 66.94 $1.1319
July 14/06 77.03 59.38 67.65 $1.1274
July 17/06 75.31 57.71 67.16 $1.1322
July 18/06 73.55 56.67 66.62 $1.1336
July 19/06 72.67 56.75 65.98 $1.1353
July 20/06 73.09 56.07 66.71 $1.1341
July 21/06 73.94 56.96 68.18 $1.1374
July 24/06 74.71 57.30 69.04 $1.1416
July 25/06 73.41 56.58 68.07 $1.1414
July 26/06 73.95 56.88 68.24 $1.1378
July 27/06 74.55 58.58 69.08 $1.1345
Interruption-Gasoline. New Fix = 67.47/Litre
July 28/06 73.25 57.49 67.95 $1.1298
July 31/06 74.41 58.34 69.59 $1.1309
August 01/06 74.92 59.82 71.49 $1.1305
August 02/06 75.82 61.15 72.43 $1.1259
August 03/06 75.47 61.00 71.66 $1.1263
August 04/06 74.77 60.21 67.89 $1.1270
Total spot =1048.52
Divide by: 18 days = 58.25
Allowable Increase= +2.23/Litre

Interruption occurs when the last five days spot pricing averages 3.5 cents a litre over or below the previous fix in pricing. In this case, numbers averaged greater than 3.5 cents a litre from the previous fix of 56.02 from the last adjustment time.