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Monday, August 01, 2011

The numbers so far this week...

Don't look for any changes in prices this week, that's if the markets still show "steady as she goes" in tomorrow's trading...

A shaky economic recovery added some downwards pressure and then the debt deal in the US added an up side, negating any possible decreases, let alone increases, to consumers this week so far.

Here's what I have for the price changes this Thursday, with one more day to go:
  • Heating and stove oils show down by 19/100ths of a cent.
  • Diesel shows down by 6/10ths, and...
  • Gasoline shows an even zero to come.
I'll be back tomorrow night with a full breakdown.

Shortages in Nova Scotia

In the meantime, a shortage of regular gasoline in Nova Scotia has some wondering what's happening with prices this week.

The short answer is "nothing so far".

Gasoline prices there are measured the same way as they are here, by NYMEX pricing, and those numbers show no change, like I said. It's a good case for having regulation of fuel prices, to prevent any binge pricing from entering the markets.

The shortage of gasoline is caused by a refinery outage by an Ultramar refinery that was shut down earlier than anticipated by a lightning storm. Power outages, or hits, could cause a refinery to have to take up to a week to restart, but a planned maintenance outage played into the plans as well, and all before supplies could be purchased from elsewhere.
See the CBC story on the shortages here or see it at www.cbc.ca/ns

Ultramar is trying to top up supplies via a New Brunswick refinery through a 'reciprocal sales agreement, a type of agreement that our group considers contrary to the rules of free and open competition. In essence, refineries choose to close up refineries and share from other company's supplies, negating competition between companies.

When the Competition Bureau allowed an agreement we contested in 1998, they told us it was too late to stop it, and the arrangement between companies was allowed to continue.

Just another reason for a new Competition Act and a Bureau that won't be afraid to intervene on the behalf of consumers in this country...

That's it for now!

See you tomorrow evening!

George

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