The latest report from the US Energy Information Administration released today gives a good indication where prices could be headed for consumers this summer.
According to the report, crude stocks have climbed again to reach a rough 504 million barrels on inventory on-hand, a record since record keeping began in 1981. Another 2.1 million barrels of crude oil was added to last week's numbers.
Gasoline inventories were also reported up this week by another 3 million barrels, and along with an increase in refiner capacity, figures show that in spite of the low price, consumers still seem to be holding back.
(See the summary here: http://ir.eia.gov/wpsr/wpsrsummary.pdf )
Well, maybe it's a sign that consumers are simply not paying as much attention to the pump price now that they're at a level that is more affordable. They simply don't have to go on a buying spree when they see prices reflected at a level that is affordable.
And maybe they are more aware and simply are practising conservation, which is great!
Perhaps the oil industry should take note the next time (if ever) that prices start to increase with rising oil.
What the report tells me simply is this: While gasoline and crude oil stocks are continuing to build, it is the middle of February. Traditionally, you would see gasoline speculators pouring into the markets well ahead of the summer driving season to try and take advantage of the opportunity to invest in anticipation of an increase in demand.
That hasn't started to happen. I'm wondering if it ever is going to...
Here's my read then for the summer, if this "trend" keeps up.
Simply put, "what you see is what you get"...At least so far...
With no sign of an increase in demand yet, consumers looking to plan their summer might be able to do something they haven't done in a few years: Go further!