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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Update #3
Numbers are up on all fronts
Consumers will see an increase in prices this Thursday morning

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 23, 2010- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see an increase in most fuel prices this week when the Public Utilities Board moves to adjust prices. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“The numbers are substantial in light of what we have seen lately. I expect heating and stove oils to increase by 2.73 cents per litre, diesel to increase by 3.3 cents and gasoline to rise by 3.8 cents per litre this coming Thursday,” Murphy said.

“Even though there has been some slight inventory building, I have seen investors put their money into refined commodities against the dropping US dollar. With crude oil hitting over $80 US a barrel earlier this week, the writing was on the wall in the form of higher crude acquisition costs as well. Today however, there was a bad economic report out of the US that showed consumer confidence taking a dip. Hopefully, this will instill a hold position in the markets as that dip in confidence will also reflect on any anticipated increase in consumer demand. This latest increase may be just a hiccup and, if confidence in economic recovery shows itself elsewhere, we could be looking at a decrease in prices again soon.”


For more information, contact;

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

Monday, February 22, 2010

Update #2

Six days of data confirm increases on the way

Here's a quick update to yesterday's posting that includes data from today's market trading:
  • Heating and stove oils now show an increase of 2.76 cents a litre.
  • Diesel shows an added 3.2 cents a litre on the way, and...
  • Gasoline shows an increase of 3.8 cents a litre coming Thursday morning.

Oh well...Time to hit the pumps Wednesday night!

I'll have all the numbers along with a press release posting here late tomorrow night.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Numbers are up
Five day shows increases on the way
Just a couple of words of warning here as regards to what I have for this week.
Numbers for this period are up substantially for all fuels that I measure. Everyone knows by now that the PUB regulates prices here on a weekly basis now. For five days out of seven days data so far this session, here's what I have:
  • Heating and stove oils show an increase of 2.64 cents per litre.
  • Diesel shows an added 3.0 cents per litre, and...
  • Gasoline is up by 3.5 cents.

Two more days of data to get here but, the writing seems to be on the wall as to what to expect this coming Thursday.

Also, everyone might take note that I will be posting a weekly listing of heating oil pricing in and around the immediate St. John's area. That should give everyone a rough idea on what to expect from their own company and also to get everyone to start asking their own companies why the difference in prices. Mind you, depending on what date I actually check prices, they will be out ahead of the regular price setting and will not include any of my numbers in the changes.

I'm thinking here that I will continue to post the "price check" on Mondays rather than the "press release" that includes my guess on the price change.

In other words, when I get my price check out, you will see the price change when the PUB institutes their new price settings the following Thursday.

Hope this helps.

If you have any suggestions you might want to see me undertake, drop me a note or leave a comment below.



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

No big changes in the numbers
Huge price difference in the local heating oil markets observed

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 16, 2010- For the second week in a row, consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador won’t be seeing any great changes to fuel pricing when the PUB moves to adjust prices later this week. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

What’s in the numbers?
“Oil prices stayed relatively steady this past week with today’s trading session being the exception. Prices fluctuated anywhere between $74 and today’s close at $77.11 US a barrel. Refined commodity prices also rose along with oil and that absorbed any modest decreases that were expected. Heating and stove oil prices are expected to drop by 24/100ths of a cent, diesel by only a tenth, while gasoline is expected to drop by a half penny. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t change considering my margin for error of three tenths of a cent.”

From the markets this week

• Refinery capacity remains at near historic lows, recorded down to 78.4 per cent.
• Last inventory report showed an increase in crude oil inventories and a drop in imports. Could be a significant signal to the markets of waning demand amidst problems with economic recovery.
• Gasoline inventories also showed an increase last week of more than two million barrels, another indicator of possible demand drops for the fuel.
• A slight drop in distillate inventory, not unexpected as a result of poor winter weather in the northeast US last week.
• Oil bounced back as a result of the increase in the Euro against the US dollar. There’s a lot of faith that the European Union’s confidence in the Greece debt recovery plan.
• Finally to note: We could see another fight between Britain and Argentina in the South Atlantic over exploration and development rights around the Falkland Islands (The Malvinas). The Argentina government is now refusing entry to oil companies that are getting supplies from Argentinian ports, forcing oil companies to add tremendous expense costs to exploring off the coast of the islands. The recent war over the islands in 1982 cost several hundred lives

Local heating oil pricing
Here’s a run-down of local heating oil prices in the immediate St. John’s, Mount Pearl and CBS area:

Company Cents/Litre
Harvey’s Oil............ 75.74
Irving Oil................. 73.74
North Atlantic......... 73.74
Ultramar.................. 73.74
ESSO (Imperial)..... 73.74
Chafe’s Oil................ 73.74
Discount Fuels......... 68.0
A1 Fuels.................... 68.3
Skinner’s Oil............. 69.45

Difference Hi/Lo $78.99 (HST included) based on a 900Lt fill-up.

That’s it for now!

For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
The snow in Washington

Consumers can be a little upset this week, not that Barack Obama had anything to do with it though...

This past trading week was a little strange on the oil side, and the weather helped to support numbers just a little, numbers that were supposed to start falling mid-week instead of Friday.

What happened?

Weather was a key factor.

Instead of the Energy Information Administration in the United States releasing its oil report as per the Wednesday schedule, it was released on Friday because of the snowstorms in the Washington area. Those numbers were an important factor in numbers being down now, nonetheless. If Fridays numbers are any indication on where oil prices will be in the coming days, then the direction will be "down". If those numbers had to be released on the regular day, we would have seen a larger impact on prices.

Here's what I have for this regulation period, so far:
  • Heating and stove oils down by 41/100ths of a cent.
  • Diesel down by 3/10ths, and...
  • Gasoline down by 7/10ths.

I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers along with a look at retail heating oil prices in the immediate St. John's area.

Regards for now!


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Not much change in prices this week
The real oil news may be later this week

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 9, 2010- There won’t be any big changes to fuel prices this week as oil and commodity prices showed a slight gain, erasing any possibility of a more substantial cut in prices. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Numbers are down slightly
“Numbers are showing drops in all fuels I measure but I only have it in tenths of cents. Heating and stove oils show 29/100ths down, gasoline is 3/10ths down and diesel shows the largest decrease at just a half penny,” Murphy said.

“While crude supplies increased slightly last week that was offset by an increase in investors sinking their money into the US dollar as a hedge against inflation. They pulled their winnings from commodities amidst a drop in demand for oil. The Canadian dollar also lost a penny in value against the US dollar as a result. The real news for consumers may be signaled later today when the US government releases its inventory data. If it also shows an increase, oil will drop along with the price of refined commodities and there are plenty of signs out there that it will.”

Tankers idle
Iran has several tankers loaded and ready to go to world markets, but they have a problem. The tankers have no place to deliver as the markets are now signaling a drop in demand for oil and rather than ship the oil out for a cheaper price, the Iranians are using the tankers for storage in the hope that prices will rebound before the next OPEC meeting.

OPEC meets March 17th in Vienna
The Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Vienna next month to discuss production targets. The possibility is there that OPEC will discuss a cut in production if oil prices keep slipping amidst the bad news coming from the world economy. Any drop in the world economy will signal a drop in demand for oil and that brings about the possibility of a production cut to help support prices.

Industry report indicates inventories gain
The American Petroleum Institute (API) is reporting a gain in inventories of most crude oil and refined products this week. The industry organization’s report shows that supplies of crude oil increased by a very substantial 7.2 million barrels and gasoline also increased by 1.6 million.

“Hopefully, the positive news here will mean a drop in the coming weeks for consumers but, the news still has to face some confirmation in a report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report scheduled to be released tomorrow. If their report shows anything of an increase in supply, then we should look for oil to trade lower again in the next week,” Murphy said.


For more information, contact;

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

Monday, February 08, 2010

Not much change this week

As Obama said about "change", I can say the opposite this time around at least!

There's not much this week, at least according to the numbers so far...

Here's what I have with six days out of seven reporting:

  • Heating and stove oils show a drop of just 39/100ths.
  • Diesel shows a very modest 7/10ths of a cent, and...
  • Gasoline shows "down" by 3/10ths of a cent.

Some market observations:

  • The Canadian dollar lost a little ground against the US Greenback this past week, losing close on 1.5 cents. The US dollar gained a little strength, particularly against the Euro, in spite of the disappointing economic news out of the US.
  • A build in crude inventories this week lead to a sell-off as speculators saw this as another sign that all is not rosy in the economy.

That's it for now. I'll have the final numbers tomorrow night, sometime after 11 p.m.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Small drop in fuel prices expected

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, February 2, 2010- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see a slight drop in fuel prices this week after crude oil prices climbed almost four dollars this past week. That’s from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“Consumers can expect to see heating and stove oil drop by 94/100ths, just under a penny. Diesel only shows a half cent down, while gasoline shows down by 1.5 cents a litre,” said Murphy.

“I’m keeping a sharp eye on the diesel number this time around to see if the numbers are going to be in line with the new winter diesel mix. Right now, it appears that the new formula for figuring out diesel prices by the PUB has an immediate four cent a litre impact. While the fuel may meet the new specifications as set out by new federal guidelines for "pourability" in colder weather, it may be a case where the kerosene and diesel mix may not give the same performance to diesel users. I’m encouraging everyone in the transportation sector, particularly the tractor trailer industry, to keep track of their consumption of the new fuel mix and inform us of a drop in performance if it does occur.

“Oil prices climbed sharply after a drop in the US dollar spurred investment in commodities. Some positive economic news south of the border also helped motor up oil prices and that, coupled with weak inventory data, colder weather in the US northeast and low refiner capacity the past week were also factors.”


For more information, contact;

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

Monday, February 01, 2010

Numbers so far

Happy Monday, if there is such a thing.

I guess you all know by now that regulation of prices will take place once a week from this pricing period on.

A couple of things first off...

As you all know, heating oil is subject to changes once a year whenever winter rolls around, when the winter heating blend comes into play for a few months. I also tell everyone that, until the winter blend use cuts off in I think the first week of April, that the heating oil number can just be used as a guide rather than the actual that will occur.

The same now goes for diesel...

Kind of screws things up a little bit and that's probably why I saw my diesel numbers go straight to H..E two sticks. Diesel was projected to decrease by 4.5 and we only saw 3/10ths of a cent down.

That's what prompted me to look at the PUB release in an attempt to track down "why". They have now moved to a winter mix for diesel to meet "pourability" in cold temperatures and to meet sulphur regulations placed by the federal government.

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but didn't we already implement "ULS Diesel"? We've been using it for years already with no complaints before...

For now, just use my quoted diesel number as a "guide" as to the trend in diesel pricing, that is until the winter diesel blend comes off, again, in April I believe.

In the interim, here's what I have so far for prices that will, again, be set on a weekly basis:
  • Heating and stove oils show a 1.37 cent a litre drop.
  • Diesel shows a drop of close on a penny, and...
  • Gasoline shows a drop of 1.9 cents a litre.

I'll be back here tomorrow night with the full seven days of data, but it is looking like only slight decreases all round this week.