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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Distillates drop

Gasoline mostly steady

Media release

Conception bay south, NL, November 29, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador won’t see too much change with gasoline prices this week. That’s according to George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

The numbers

“Oil prices may be up this week, but it’s not showing too readily with gasoline numbers even though the number is up just slightly”. Murphy said. “Gasoline is showing up by just 6/10ths of a cent a litre, while the distillate fuels are down. Diesel is showing down by 1.7 cents a litre with heating and stove oils also down by 1.5 cents on a litre.”

“There’s still a lot of volatility in the markets. Even though we witnessed a few signs of economic improvement with Black Friday sales showing new records, we’re also seeing signs for next week, showing the opposite with the chance for more European Union countries like Belgium and France facing the possibility of a downgrade in credit ratings that could be the first signals to higher international interest rates and a world economic slowdown. It’s absolutely terrifying out there.”

PPO offices in Grand Falls-Winsor close

The Petroleum Pricing Office in Grand Falls-Winsor has closed with the realization from the PUB that improvements in technology have made the offices there redundant. Four jobs have been lost in the transition to the work now being done in the St. John’s offices of the Board, but, from what I am told, the former staff of the offices, while on contractual work for the PUB, have all been looked after. “It may be a necessary loss to technology. I know that I have been doing my own work with the numbers for fourteen years now, and I guess the PUB realized the job could be done in St. John’s without the added expense to the consumer. Don’t look for any big drops in prices as a result of the closure however. The total cost of regulation in this province only added another .0007 of a cent to fuel prices in the first place. I wish the laid- off workers the best in their future endeavors.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Numbers down

When will the volatility go away?

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, November 22, 2011- Oil may be working up again from recent drops in pricing, but the numbers consumers will be looking at will hardly reflect that this week when prices are forecast to drop. That’s according to George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas prices.

“While oil has seen ups and downs this past week, it’s prices for refined commodities that have been steadily down over that time-frame, which is a little unusual. The markets are extremely nervous, and that will keep oil prices right where they’re at for the time being.” Murphy said.

The numbers this week

“Heating and stove oils are forecast to drop by 2.06 cents a litre, mitigating last week’s increase, while diesel numbers are also forecast to drop by 2.4 cents a litre. Gasoline prices are forecast to drop by 2.6 cents a litre, bringing retail prices in the immediate St. John’s northeast down to $1.18 a litre, if Costco follows suit.”

Analysis for the week

“Markets continue to reflect the problems some countries are having in dealing with mounting debt, with this week’s focus turning to the United States and another European Union country, France taking the spotlight. It was seen by investors that France was a standing example of what a stable European banking system should look like, but here are concerns, especially if France cannot absorb some of the losses in earnings from their part of the European Union bailout programs. While there is a lack of faith in the European Union debt situation, let alone the US problem coming to light again, don’t look for any runaway oil prices anytime soon. A retreat in oil prices may be exactly what the world economy needs to aid in its recovery. The truth about unaffordable oil has yet to play its hand this time around.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

European Union finds stability?

Enter higher prices

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, November 15, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will find cold comfort with government releasing details of its home heating rebate today with the markets and oil prices rebounding this week. That news is from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“We’re at a point where the markets have bounced oil prices upwards again, mainly on speculation of the European union’s member nations Italy and Greece replacing their leadership, and some positive US economic news.” Murphy said. ‘However, the markets are turning refined commodity prices to a point where they’re starting to bite into consumers pocket-books again with heating and stove oil prices rising again to almost $1.03 a litre in the St. John’s area, and up close to $1.23 for a litre of heating oil in Gaultois. They’re again making heating prices unaffordable to most, regardless of what relief measures that government is undertaking today.”

First, the numbers

“Numbers are showing a 2.69 cents a litre increase for heating and stove oil prices and an added 2.8 cents a litre on diesel fuels. Gasoline shows a 2.0 cent a litre drop, but a break in prices may be short-lived if oil prices continue their way upwards. With energy prices rising, consumers are going to feel the pinch at the wrong time of the year.”

Government announces heating rebate program

“While government is enjoying almost 600 million in royalties, according to Minister Marshall’s statement some weeks ago, we’re looking at consumers getting the fickle end of the stick that comes with higher energy prices, and a lot of consumers out there simply can’t afford some energy costs anymore. The rebate itself potentially only covers a third of a tank of heating fuel and needs to see another examination of what it sends out to consumers who need it. What’s even more alarming is a statistic tied with last year’s program that showed almost 66,000 homes received the rebate, a $16.5 million dollar payout! The number of recipient homes here is an alarming statistic and adds focus to the problem of sky-rocketing energy costs, particularly for those on fixed incomes or pensions.”

“Hopefully, the markets will turn the opposite direction again and send prices lower, but the promise of economic turn-around has to be worrisome for at least some people out there, particularly for those left behind. It’s for just this example that the Occupy movement has reason, and some have good reason to worry this winter, so far.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, November 14, 2011

With one day left to go...

Hi folks...

With six days of data in, and just one more to go, here's what I have for this coming Thursday...
  • Heating and stove oils show an added 2.56 cents a litre.
  • Diesel shows an added 2.7 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline is down by 2.0 cents a litre.

Sounds odd I know, but the focus has definitely shifted to the distillate group of fuels. With inventories down last week, it seems the sharks in the markets are circling again.

I'll be back tomorrow night with a final figure on what to expect for this Thursday.

Regards,


George

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To a Newfoundlander lost on the July Drive

His blue puttees stained the colour of Mother Earth,
and face down to her grip.
And she, reaching back to never let him go.

Thousands of miles away,
on a rocky shore,
he sees his mother on the beach,
collecting her small bounty of silver and black fish.

She's not knowing for the moment
that she will never see him again...

*************

**I know I just post fuel pricing items here, but I felt that this weekend I would make that exception. It was so many that died for me to pursue that right.

Wherever you are this Remembrance Day weekend, be safe and take the time out to remember!

George
His blue puttees stained the colour of mother earth, and face down to her grip. She, reaching back to not let him go.
Thousands of miles away,on a rocky shore,
he sees his mother, on the beach,
collecting her small bounty of small silver and black fish.
She's not knowing for the moment that she will never see him again...
...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Recession fears easing?

Prices up on speculation

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, November 8, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador can expect to see a slight movement upwards in prices this coming Thursday as oil prices continue to rebound. That comes from George Murphy, group researcher and member of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“Oil prices are up another $2.70 US a barrel this week on news of the latest US jobs report and an American Petroleum Institute (API) industry report that shows a drawdown in most inventories of refined product. Add to that, reports out of the European Union that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy is set to resign after another European Union bail-out.”

“The numbers are showing an added 1.45 cents per litre upwards for heating and stove oils, 1.8 cents a litre up for diesel prices and an added 1.5 cents a litre upwards for gasoline. Keep in mind my margin for error of three tenths of a cent and the fact that we’re now faced with a different blend for heating oils for the winter heating mix. ” Murphy added.

Costco reigns

Consumers of Costco couldn’t believe their eyes on Sunday when they looked at pump prices. Prices there, I am told, were at a low of $1.20 a litre, while prices in farther regions checked in at $1.28.9 cents a litre. Most stations in the areas closer to Costco continue to try to maintain market share with prices at most stations in the immediate northeast areas ranging close to $1.26.9 cents a litre. “Costco has become a vital factor in getting the major gas retail chains to compete for market share. I hope the trend continues. It was a long time coming, and consumers are seeing the benefits of Costco entering the gas retail marketplace.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

After Greek decision…

Markets ask “What’s next?”

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, November 1, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador won’t see much change at the distillate level after this week’s performance with oil prices, but gasoline will be dropping. That’s from the group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices, George Murphy.

“My margin for error is three tenths of a cent, and my numbers for distillate are showing that there may be no change in prices with the distillate group of fuels. Heating and stove oils show an added 17/100ths of a cent increase in price while diesel shows an increase of just 1/10th of a cent. Gasoline is showing a drop of just 1.5 cents a litre for this Thursday”. Murphy said.

“The markets have been thrown in a state of flux again with the European Union bailout plans for Greece. Yesterday, Greek president Papandreou threw water on a bailout plan that took months to put together when he inexplicably told the media that he would put the bailout plan to a referendum to the Greek people. It’s widely believed that the right turn by the Greek president will put Greece closer to a default situation on it’s plans to pay off debt and puts into question the viability of some European banks. Any default will likely throw the European banking system into crisis.”

‘I believe he’s laying out a challenge to his opposition in Greece. He has nothing to lose by putting pressure on his opposition in Greece to be forced to agree with the bailout plans, but he’s walking a fine line with his own people who would have to face most of the austerity measures at the same time. If he wins his mandate through winning the referendum to accept the terms of the bailout, then he will help ensure government stability in Greece while the country works through austerity measures. He’s also laying the fate of the world economy and the European banking system at the feet of the people of Greece. It’s going to be a hard sell to the Adriatic country, but it’s being done democratically in the place where it all started, and the people of Greece will have the ultimate say in whether Papandreou will survive politically.

“In the meantime, Greece also is holding rising prices at bay for now. Any likelihood of rising prices have been mitigated, at least for the time-being, as the situation in Europe takes shape in the coming weeks. While there may have been some slight improvement in the world economy in the past couple of weeks, there’s a new awakening of the gravity of the financial system in Europe that threatens t sink everyone back into recession again. It may be the one positive influence on saving consumers money this winter, the fact that Greece is calling the shot this time around. Certainly, this takes away any impetus on price increases in the short term.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP