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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Numbers this week so far
Last week, I told you about the possibility of fuel price interruption on all fronts.
While the numbers are still up considerably for all fuels, there seems to be some retreat for others. The market sell-off on Monday this week may very well have been enough to thwart any increases that could have come this Thursday. That's not to say that there's not anything in the cards for next week instead. We need to see an extended downturn in the oil markets to change any possibility of an increase to consumers then.
Some numbers are a downright "I don't know" when it comes to predicting what will happen to them for this week, however...
Here's what I have so far, keeping in mind that the heating oil number may be close to what I have here for stove oils. Problem again here is that I simply can't get that jet fuel component to make the accurate prediction. The "actual" that may occur could be more than what I have for stove oils. Keep in mind that, while I operate on the basis of a 3/10ths of a cnet margin for error, I could be wrong and there is always the possibility that an increase could happen when I have no increase showing in the numbers.
  • Gasoline now shows 1.9 cents a litre up. In other words, no interruption here this week.
  • Diesel shows an increase of 3.5 cents a litre, just outside the requirements for interruption. That doesn't mean my numbers are going to be the right ones this week. Volitility is key in the numbers this week.
  • Stove oils shows an increase of 3.6 cents a litre, just a bare 4/10ths of a cent out.
I will be posting again tomorrow when I have more data. These numbers are based on six days out of seven needed for interruption to occur. For it to happen, we need a consistant four cent a litre change over seven days of data.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

All petroleum prices to increase Thursday
The days of gas under a buck are numbered

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, March 24, 2009- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see another increase in petroleum product prices again this week as commodity figures reflect the rising price of crude oil.

Possible interruption to prices for next week
According to George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices, those numbers that are showing themselves this week are not substantial, but the increase in spot prices in the last couple of days in particular has him worried. The last two business days are reflecting a possible interruption to pricing for all fuel products if the related commodity prices stay high for the rest of the week leading up to next Tuesday’s business day. While not a guarantee that interruption to pricing will occur, the latest numbers are within the guides of the requirements. “I am seeing heating/stove oil spot prices that have increased by 36 cents a US gallon, gasoline spot prices that have 31 cents and diesel by 36 cents a gallon as well. Yesterday, heating and stove oil spot prices hit 48.12 cents a litre and I’m showing an average of 42.89 cents over the last two weeks. If we see that figure of 48 cents a litre hold up over the next couple of days, we could be looking at an interruption scenario of over five cents a litre for next Thursday. Diesel shows the same scenario adding the same and gasoline adding an additional four cents a litre”, said Murphy.

Numbers for this Thursday
“For Thursday, gasoline shows just an added 8/10ths of a cent increase, heating/stove oils show 1.88 cents a litre up and diesel to increase by 2.1 cents a litre. At the same time, we’ve seen crude oil increase from $42.33 US a barrel to today’s close of $53.48 a barrel, numbers that don’t reflect the reality in increasing spot prices for crude oils related, refined commodities.”

“The days may be numbered for gasoline under a buck a litre in Newfoundland and Labrador. While it was good while it lasted Big Oil should understand that it is higher fuel prices that are hindering any economic recovery. We’re better off helping the economy recover by keeping energy cheap to the consumer and business. If we see energy prices increase again, we’re going to see added surcharges to consumables and another artificial increase to inflation. All this is taking away disposable income to the economy.”

Market highlights

· Stove and heating oil prices increase over the last two weeks from $1.11 a US Gallon to $1.48 a gallon US.
· Diesel prices increase from $1.12 to $$1.48 a US gallon.
· Gasoline increases from $1.15 a US gallon to $1.43 a gallon.
· The Canadian dollar increases in value against the US dollar from $1.2807 on March 11th to today’s $1.2262, the last day of this regulation period.
· Gasoline inventories show a 3.2 million barrel increase and demand also increases 1.1 per cent over last years figures.
· Distillate supplies show an increase in supply while demand for the same drops by 9.3 per cent. Jet fuel demand also drops by 6.4 per cent against lat years figures.
· Refiner capacity remains low at just a hair above 82 per cent.


For more information, contact;

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

A quick note...

Here's a short synopsis on what I have in the numbers so far.

With the price of oil skyrocketting from $42.33 March 11th to today's close of $$53.00 even, you would figure that the numbers would be more substantial than what they are, but they're not.

There is a bit of a twist here though.

The last two days of this pricing period shows the meteoric rise in spot prices that, if the numbers keep up to where they are right now, won't result in a huge increase in prices this week, we could get the bigger ding next week.

I'm taking a guess here, and keep in mind that next weeks data hasn't happened yet, but from the looks of things and the way the next week is shaping up, there is an interruption scenario taking place that could see an average increase in gasoline prices of a rough four cents a litre.

Heating/stove oils could see an added five cents and diesel by five as well. Again, that's if the numbers hold up for the next week. If it happens, I'll be posting here again before next Tuesday hits.

In the meantime, heating/stove oils show an increase of 1.48 cents a litre, gasoline showsa little over a half cent up and diesels are showing up by 1.6 cents a litre with one more day of data to get (13 days out of 14 days on hand now).

I'll have the final numbers for you all tomorrow evening!



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update #3

Slight change in the numbers
All fourteen days on hand and here's what I have:
  • Stove oils to increase by 4/100ths of a cent.
  • Heating oils will follow the direction of stove oils, in other words, no noticeable change.
  • Diesel to increase between 1/10th and 2/10ths of a cent, and...
  • Gasoline to increase between 3.8 and 3.9 cents a litre.



Monday, March 09, 2009

Update #2

Oil trades higher
Consumers to take a hit this coming Thursday morning

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, March 9, 2009- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see another increase in gasoline prices this coming Thursday as oil prices and their related commodities continue to trade upwards, at least that’s according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“Gasoline has taken a big jump upwards over the last two weeks, buoyed mainly by an increase in demand and the sudden fall in the Canadian dollar. We’ve lost six cents against the US greenback in the last two weeks and the sudden fall in the dollar should be a continuing concern in the determination of fuel prices. We’ve lost an added two cents a litre as a result of the dollar difference there.

What consumers will see
“I expect gasoline prices to increase by four cents a litre this Thursday with stove oils increasing by just 12/100ths of a cent and diesel to also increase by close on 3/10ths of a cent. The stove oil number may be reflective of little or no change in heating oil prices as well. All these numbers are based on 13 out of a possible 14 days data. The price increase will be less than a seven cent a litre increase in the Halifax area but reflective of continuing market volatility.

Markets show continuing volatility
“If you’ve been watching the markets, you probably have also noted the price swings in everything from oil to our dollar. There’s a continuing level of distrust in the markets based on the lack of any positive economic news. Unemployment numbers are continuing to increase but, that’s not reflective in the oil numbers. You’d expect to see a drop in consumer demand but, that’s not happening now. There’s some complacency returning to what consumers see as a ‘lower price’. We’ve also witnessed a draw-down in crude inventory from the strategic supply at Cushing, Oklahoma where WTI is mostly bargained and priced for.

Work for the wood fibre industry?
“I’m surprised at any response that has been given as regards to the major closures and shut-downs in the wood fibre industries in the province. Here, we have a renewable resource that has seen concentration in making paper rather than the province looking at the other alternative in the troubled industry. I believe that the time has come for the province to carry out a bold experiment in the manufacture of methanol/ethanol from wood fibre . Here we have a viable source of supply for another aspect of the petrochemical industry and it has not been looked at as of yet. While ethanol is derived from other sources like corn and wheat, we can help stymie any increases in food costs by helping change where we get oxygenates from. Oxygenates are used in gasolines and other fuels to help with more complete burning of fossil fuels and they’re less harmful to the environment. If we can show that it would be easy to manufacture here, we have that chance of getting into another aspect of the petroleum industry rather than the traditional and we’d also help put unemployed lumber industry workers back to work.

Market highlights

* The Canadian dollar loses almost six cents against its US counterpart resulting in an added loss to consumers of close on two cents a litre as a result.
* Consumer demand for gasoline increases by just over two per cent over last years figures for the same timeframe last year.
* Refinery capacity still recorded as low at just over 83% utilization, that’s just up slightly against last week’s figure of 81%.
* Oil prices continued to climb from $38.96 US on February 24th to today’s $47.07 US a barrel at market close while, gasoline spot prices rose an average of 41.28 cents a litre from 38.88 cents a litre at the last price setting.
* Markets are also playing on fears that OPEC will meet on March 15th coming to institute another cut in production by an added one million barrels per day.
* As reported by the United States Energy Information Administration last week, gasoline shows just a marginal increase of 200 thousand barrels of added inventory from the week previous.
* A draw-down in crude oil inventories last week helped oil prices to increase although oil inventories were recorded at almost 45 million barrels over the same timeframe last year. Distillate inventories also showed a marked increase as a result of drops in demand of diesel, jet fuels and heating oils. The drop in jet fuel demand is recorded at just over 15 per cent below last year’s levels for the same timeframe.

For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gas prices to take the hit this week
Update #1
Here's a quick synopsis on what I have so far this regulation period, with two more business days to go:
  • Stove oils show a modest increase of just 11/100ths of a cent. Heating oils should go that same direction with very little change at the heating oil truck.
  • Diesel shows just 2/10ths of a cent increase, however...
  • Gasoline shows an added four cents a litre at the pumps.

Keep in mind that there are two days to go before I have the final numbers, but either way, look for gasoline to be the only fuel to take the big hit this week.

I'll be in touch Tuesday eveening with the final numbers!


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Numbers don't show interruption, but...
I've been getting a few emails from you all enquiring about the latest numbers I have.
In short, I don't have numbers that would warrant for any fuel interruption at this time, but that doesn't mean that the Public Utilities Board doesn't have them, if that makes any sense.
Here's what I have so far for this period, in which there has been an awful lot of volatility in the markets caused chiefly by the grief the Canadian dollar is experiencing against the US greenback.
  • Stove oils show an allowable .31 cents a litre increase from the current price. In other words, just slightly up about 3/10ths of a cent. That may be pointing the way of heating oils.
  • Diesel shows an allowable of .47 cents a litre, just a little less than a half cent a litre up at the pumps.
  • Gasoline shows an allowable increase of 3.61 plus taxes, a rough 4.1 cents a litre at the pumps. The interrupter formula works whenever there is a four cent a litre disparity in prices (before taxes). My allowable margin for error calls for a difference of 3/10ths of a cent when I take a measurement.In other words, I'm about a tenth of a cent out from what could happen.

There's a small difference here that I can't account for in the numbers. I really don't know what the PUB has in the numbers but, I do know two things: that there was an awful lot of turmoil at the start of this session that MAY have been picked up by the board and not by myself. I can't say that there is not going to be an increase in gasoline pricing this Thursday, but, then again, I really can't say that there will be either. Secondly, the drop in the dollar has cost the consumer almost two cents a litre (taxes in) when compared to last Wednesday's spot price on the markets. In turn, the Canadian dollar has lost almost four cents against the US dollar this past week.

I think I'll be filling up on Wednesday night just in case...

Hope this helps?