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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Prices for Thursday, July 25, 2013

Small break at the gas pump
Distillates still continue upwards

Media release

St. John’s, NL, July 23, 2013- “It’s almost too lousy of a decrease to talk about, all that considering the root that consumers received from market investors last week, But if you use gasoline, you might even welcome the drop in price, even if it is just a penny. For distillate users of heating oil and diesel fuel, the news is a little different.” That word from George Murphy, Member of the House of Assembly and group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“While most commodity prices remained relatively steady this past week, the Canadian dollar gained a little ground against the US greenback in trading, picking up a little over a cent. That resulted in a small drop in gas prices, but wasn’t enough to turn away the prospects of another increase to heating, stove oils and diesel fuel prices. It’s beginning to be painful to watch heating oil prices rise, not to mention the spectre of rising diesel fuel that can burn consumers in higher transportation costs which will result in higher prices for food.”

“Most seniors in this province just received increases to their seniors benefits ranging a massive $2 increase to their cheques. That’s not enough for a litre of milk, let alone look after the rising cost of heat this winter, if prices don’t retreat-and retreat fast. How are they going to look after themselves? This trend is spelling trouble.”

The numbers

Here’s what I have for this week’s price changes:
·         Heating and stove oils to increase by another 1.17 cents per litre.
·         Diesel fuel to increase by 1.7 cents per litre.
·         Regular gasoline to drop by 1 cent, and…
·         Reformulated gasoline shows just a half penny down.

Incidentally, the record high for heating oil prices was reached in July of 2008 when heating oil prices briefly hit $1.23 a litre before collapsing before heating season began. Crude oil hit $147 US a barrel that same week, part of the reason for the massive hit to heating oil prices.


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ok Big Oil...This isn't funny anymore!

Consumers to take another hit at the pumps
Heating rises for the fifth week in a row

Media release

St. John’s, NL, July 16, 2013- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see another jump in prices at the pumps when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this week. That news from George Murphy, researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Heating up again
“This latest expectation of another increase really hurts the consumer. We’re looking at another increase to heating oil, which miniscule, still adds to a high heating price starting point when, traditionally, heating prices have been dropping. It could be a very cold winter for some out there.” Murphy said.

Gasoline up to another high
“To add to the consumer, add another increase to consumer gas prices which have reached the second highest level since 2008 when oil prices hit a record $147 US  a barrel before the late July collapse in prices that year. Consumers could be looking at another 4.6 cents a litre at the pumps when they wake up on Thursday morning.”

In the numbers
Here’s what to expect with the Thursday morning price change:
·         Heating and stove oils are expected to increase by 23/100ths of a cent a litre.
·         Diesel shows a drop of just 1/10th of a cent. No change here with my margin of error of three tenths of a cent on a litre.
·         Regular gasoline shows an added 4.6 cents a litre, and…
·         The reformulated gasoline blend shows an added 6.3 cents a litre at the pumps.

Not fair to consumers
“ in spite of another record drop in oil inventories, we’re still at record levels of oil inventory on hand. What really plays into the latest increase falls back on the massive draw-down in inventories last week, matched with a high refiner capacity number that saw almost ninety three per cent of refiner capacity taken up. That is a signal of increasing demand from consumers, and until we see demand drop, we won’t see any relief at the pumps unless inventories of oil and gasoline increase again. That seems to be the word on the street.
What we’re not hearing from Wall Street is the effect of these high prices on consumers that can send any economic recovery into a tailspin. They remain ignorant of the facts that we simply can’t afford high prices. That should be making investors retreat from oil, but they’re not…yet.”

 Prices rising
Here’s more…for the various changes for roughly the same week all back to 2007:
July 19/12 …$1.31.6/Lt
July 14/11…$1.33.1/Lt
July 15/10…$1.08.5/Lt
July 16/09…$1.05.4/Lt
July 17/08…$1.49.3/Lt
July 19/07…$1.16.4/Lt

Chinese GDP less than expected

It will prove to be a sore test for the government of China in getting gross domestic product up again to world expectations in the next little while as GDP has not kept up with falling demand for Chinese products. What may help China in the long run may be expectations of a world economy that shows signs of picking up speed before government makes any moves to improve its own economic output, and that’s where Chinese challenges lay. Before government there makes any moves, the changing dynamic of the world economy may make it easier for the Chinese government to be “hands off” for now, before it may make any rash decisions like increase interest rates that may slow things down further. It’s “wait and see” on the Chinese economy and for any further increases in oil prices for now. Gauge that with an increase to other worldwide consumer spending, and we may not be out of the woods yet. Will Chinese manufacturing keep up with a world economy picking up steam?


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

All data is in. Final numbers for Thursday, July 11, 2013

Increases on the way

Hi to all,

                For the first time in a long time, consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will see a substantial hike at the pumps when their respective petroleum regulation authorities move to adjust prices this week.

                Here’s what I have for price changes for this Thursday, covering Newfoundland and Labrador as well as New Brunswick:

·         Heating and stove oils are showing an added 3.15 cents a litre.
·         Diesel is also showing up, this time by 3.4 cents a litre.
·         Regular unleaded gasoline shows an added 5.1 cents a litre upwards, and…
·         Reformulated gasoline also shows an added 4.7 cents a litre.

Nova Scotia consumers will see another day of market activity before the final numbers come in, but they won’t be too far off what I have here. The writing is on the wall…

Market highlights
·         Turmoil in Egypt and the threat to shipping of crude oil through the Suez Canal, causing a possible supply disruption. 2.5 million barrels a day flow through the Canal on any given day, so, while the political instability remains, the threat of a shut-down of the canal could disrupt supplies to the markets.
·         A lower Canadian dollar trading against its US counterpart remains a factor. The exchange rate is important in figuring out price changes. As an example, a “at par” dollar would have saved consumers 4 cents a litre in yesterday’s trading alone! We would be talking an overall increase in gasoline prices by just a penny simply with this math, and not a 5.1 cent a litre increase at the pumps.
·         US economy picking up a little steam this week. A good jobs number got them all in a buying mood, and that they did this week!
·         US inventories took a huge beating last Wednesday. Crude inventories fell by 10.3 million barrels while gasoline inventories took a hit, being down by 1.7 million barrels on the week.

A different link
                Bookmark this link. You may need it when the next hurricane hits! It’s a unique link to the US Energy Information Administration’s “real time” Storm Information Center that will give you an interactive map of hurricanes and their track on important US refining and production facilities. Tracks of the storm in the Atlantic (Chantel), and it’s possible impact on refining and production infrastructure is up and running right now.

Rail shipments to drop in light of Quebec accident?      
                Not likely…
                While the accident in Quebec may speak to a possible hazard in shipping crude oil by rail, it’s not likely that you will see a drop in crude oil shipments by rail anytime soon. Rail shipments are the desired mode of transportation of crude oil from the US shale regions like Bakken and Eagle ford because they are so cost-effective. The second reason is that most of these shipments come from producing shale regions that may not have a big life behind their production. Producers like the fact that, even though a well may produce for two years’ worth of light oil, they don’t have to invest in huge infrastructure like pipelines to get their crude to markets elsewhere. Each car, by the way, holds about 500 barrels of crude oil. According to the American Railroad Association, there were 9500 carloads of crude oil shipped in 2008, but last year saw a whopping 233,811 carloads of crude go to market via railcar. It’s an astronomical number and tells well of how US domestic oil production has climbed in recent years!
                The most that this accident will do is force governments to put in more stringent shipping regulations and move transportation costs up slightly.
                As well, at this time, I would like to express my condolences to the families of those lost in this horrific disaster…

                That’s it for this week!


George Murphy
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA

Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick! A heads up...

Price change for Thursday, July 11, 2013

Six days out of seven days available right now show the promise of a substantial increase to pump prices is on the way.

Here's what I have so far, with just one day of data left to get:

  • Heating and stove oils show an added 3.13 cents a litre.
  • Diesel shows an added 3.4 cents a litre.
  • Regular gasoline shows an added 4.9 cents a litre, and...
  • The reformulated blend shows an added 4.1 cents a litre.
Blame a few things here this week around. You can point the finger to the possibility of a supply disruption as a result of the situation in Egypt, a falling Canadian dollar against the US greenback, or some slight improvement in the US economy, but, either way, we're going to pay for it this week!

I'll have the final numbers later tonight after the markets close.

You might want to pass this around to everyone else on your emailing list.



Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Numbers for Thursday, July 4, 2013

Of roads, ruts and re-investment

Hi to all,

First off...
Sorry about missing posting last week. I was out of cell and internet range!

Here’s what I have for this week’s price changes:
·         Heating and stove oils to increase by 1.03 cents per litre.
·         Diesel to increase by 1.2 cents per litre
·         Regular gasoline to decrease by 1.3 cents per litre, and…
·         Reformulated blend show just a 1/10th of a cent decrease

Market highlights

·         The Canadian dollar continues to lose value against its US counterpart. The Canuck buck now is almost five cents less than the US greenback, losing almost four cents against the US dollar in the last two weeks.
·         US Energy Information Administration inventory report last week indicated a zero gain/loss in oil inventories, while gasoline inventories reported a gain of 3.7 million barrels. Distillate supplies also increased.
·         Halifax’s Imperial refinery is set to close and that may put supply at risk. Ready for more reciprocal sales arrangements where Big Oil shares supply? Not good for consumers in unregulated markets!

While I’m at it…

            While some media have been reporting that the number of tires stored in Argentia are getting smaller, are we throwing away an opportunity to recycle these tires in a better fashion? Burning them doesn’t seem to be a great “end use” of something that consumers are paying recycling fees for, and besides that, we, as taxpayers, are also sending them to Quebec at our expense. I think government estimated some $6 million to ship them out of province.
            Some time ago, government announced that they would send them to Quebec where I believe they are used to fuel a concrete plant in that province. Is that a great way to recycle, or do we expect more for our recycling dollar? I mean, do you, as a consumer paying recycling fees, expect a better use out of a product that you want to see recycled?
            Again I started reading up on the topic, and I keep asking myself why other jurisdictions come to better uses for recycling of tires than we have here. I keep reading about the costs savings for road construction and maintenance and the rising cost of asphalt for new roads. I keep reading about cost savings that the addition of recycled tires can bring to my own province, which brings me to why we are shipping them out when we have so much of a need for ongoing road construction and maintenance.
            God knows they could use an experiment on rubber asphalt concrete (RAC) roads in Labrador and along the coast, and what a bang we could have with our buck!
Call it an investment!

That’s it for now!


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