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Old 04-23-2007, 08:40 AM  
Donger Donger is offline
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Gasoline at $4 Coming to a Pump Near You, Unfazed by Rising Tab

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=afOlUzd30YOo

Pretty alarmist, IMO, but possible.

April 23 (Bloomberg) -- Whether it's $50 to fill up your Prius or $130 for the Ford Expedition, $4-a-gallon gasoline is coming to a pump near you.

Fuel prices are rising at a pace not seen since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita knocked out a third of the U.S. oil refining industry in 2005. Gasoline consumption is climbing twice as fast as last year and will accelerate when summer travel begins late next month.

``What we're surprised by is the increased demand,'' said James Mulva, chief executive officer at ConocoPhillips, whose refineries from California to New Jersey produce 56 million gallons of gas a day, enough to meet 14 percent of the country's needs. ``Even though the price of gasoline is up, the demand is up,'' he said in an April 12 interview in Houston.

Population gains and U.S. economic growth are causing an increase in fuel purchases, according to Orlando, Florida-based AAA, the nation's largest organization for motorists. The U.S. economy will expand at a 2.4 percent annual pace in the second quarter, up from 1.8 percent in the first three months, according to the median estimate of 74 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Gasoline use is rising almost 5 percent above the five-year average.

Americans are resigned to higher prices, says David Pursell, a principal with Pickering Energy Partners, a consulting firm in Houston.

``Last year, we had pump prices well over $3 for the summer and gasoline demand was up,'' Pursell said in an interview. ``Would $4 gasoline cause demand contraction? I think it will, but I also thought $3 gasoline would.''

Pump Prices

Gasoline inventories, measured by the days of demand they will cover, are at the lowest level in two decades for this time of year because of refinery fires, power failures and maintenance work oil companies failed to complete in 2006. No new U.S. refinery has been built in three decades, increasing the strain on existing plants.

Pump prices in the U.S. may increase to $4 a gallon from a nationwide average of $2.87 today, especially if hurricanes threaten Gulf of Mexico refineries, says Peter Beutel, an analyst at Cameron Hanover Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, who helps industrial consumers manage energy costs.

``Hurricanes are always the huge wild card,'' said Beutel. ``We're all praying for a year like 2006 rather than 2005.''

The June-to-November Atlantic Ocean hurricane season may produce 17 tropical storms, with nine reaching hurricane force and four becoming major hurricanes whose winds exceed 111 miles per hour (179 kilometers per hour), London-based forecasters at Tropical Storm Risk said. Some of the storms will strike the Gulf Coast this year after a benign 2006, AccuWeather.com predicted.

Inflation Risk

Higher pump prices will make winners of refinery owners such as ConocoPhillips, San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc of The Hague. Shares of Valero and Sunoco Inc., whose only business is refining, are rebounding after a decline at the end of last summer.

The increase in fuel costs threatens to quicken inflation and restrain consumer spending in the U.S. An appreciation to $4 a gallon would add more than $10 for a driver who fills the 12- gallon tank of a Toyota Motor Corp. Prius. The owner of an Expedition, a Ford Motor Co. sport-utility vehicle with a 34- gallon capacity, faces an increase of almost $40.

Many Americans have no choice but to drive more, says Christopher Knittel, an economist who studies fuel consumption at the University of California in Davis.

More Commuters

``We live farther from our jobs than we did in the 1970s, and with the rise of dual-income households, we now have two people who drive those distances every day,'' Knittel said.

Consumers also do more driving for things such as taking children to soccer practice, which they are unlikely to quit, he said. The U.S. population has increased 1 percent a year in the past decade to 301 million in 2007, adding to demand for gasoline, economists said.

Rising fuel prices make it less likely that Federal Reserve policy makers, who have cited inflation risks for the past year, will cut interest rates to spur economic growth. Before the hurricane-induced peak in 2005, U.S. gasoline topped out at $1.42 a gallon in March 1981, or $3.21 when adjusted for inflation, according to the Energy Department.

Economies in Europe and Asia are less likely to be hurt by gasoline prices because fuel already is subject to high taxes designed to encourage conservation. A gallon of unleaded costs about 3.25 pounds a gallon ($6.49) in the U.K., and in Japan it's 130.3 yen per liter ($4.16 a gallon).

$4 Barrier

U.S. consumers will get little relief on gasoline prices from Europe this year, unlike 2005, when oil companies shipped more across the Atlantic after the hurricanes. Europe's gasoline inventories in February were 114.2 million barrels, down 11 percent from two years earlier, according to the International Energy Agency in Paris. The drop in Europe was almost twice the 5.7 percent decline in U.S. supplies in that time.

``Just as we used to think $3 a gallon was an impenetrable barrier, now it's $4,'' said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business in College Park and former chief economist for the U.S. International Trade Commission. Gasoline at $3.50 is likely, Morici said, and a conflict with Iran or any event that disrupts crude supplies may push it to $4.

Pump prices rose 33 percent in the past 11 weeks, the fastest rate of gain since a six-week, 34 percent rally to the record $3.069 in September 2005, Energy Department data show.

Bodman's `Worry'

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman in an interview last week said the national average pump price could break the record this summer. While his agency's official forecast is for gasoline to peak next month at about where it is today, hurricanes, refinery closures or crude oil supply cuts may send prices higher, he said.

Higher prices are ``a legitimate worry,'' Bodman said. ``We have trouble spots all over the world'' that could boost crude oil prices. ``We're in a very tight situation.''

Spending on fuel in the U.S. consumes half as much household income as in the early 1980s, which means gasoline would need to reach almost $6 a gallon to have the same effect on the economy as in 1981, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Storage tanks at U.S. refineries, terminals and ports hold enough gasoline to cover almost 22 days of domestic demand, 8.2 percent less than the five-year average and the lowest for this time of year since the 1980s, Energy Department figures show.

Shortages

Valero-owned filling stations in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, ran dry after a Feb. 16 explosion and fire shut the company's McKee refinery in Sunray, Texas. A day earlier, a blaze at an Exxon Mobil Corp. plant in Nanticoke, Ontario, slashed output, resulting in shortages and higher prices across eastern Canada.

The McKee shutdown strained supplies so much that ConocoPhillips postponed maintenance at its Borger, Texas, refinery north of Amarillo to prevent shortages in the region.

``Refineries are becoming more complex,'' Mulva said in the Houston interview. ``What we're finding is it's more difficult keeping reliability up with more sophisticated pieces of equipment that are highly integrated.''

Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio, the second-largest refiner in the western U.S., said first-quarter refinery use dropped because oil companies delayed until this year maintenance that could have been done in 2006. The portion of U.S. refining capacity that was in operation in the first quarter declined to 87.3 percent from 88.9 percent a year earlier, according to Energy Department data.

`Refineries Blow Up'

``Prices will depend entirely on whether we have a couple of refineries blow up,'' said Philip K. Verleger, an economist who runs a consulting firm in Newport Beach, California. ``It's almost impossible we'll get to $4 a gallon if all the refineries run well this summer. But if something happens and there are problems, then anything's possible.''

The average share gain for Valero, Tesoro and six other oil-refining companies is 26 percent this year, outperforming the 4.1 percent gain for Exxon Mobil and a 4.7 percent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The shares will continue to rally, said Paul Carlson, who helps manage $3 billion at HGK Asset Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

``Refiners are doing very well these days,'' said Carlson, whose holdings include ConocoPhillips, the second-biggest U.S. refiner. ``There will be lots of demand for any new refining stocks.''

`Back in Favor'

As recently as August, investors were selling oil refiners on concern an economic slowdown would slash fuel demand in the U.S., the world's largest energy market. During seven weeks last August and September, Valero shares fell 29 percent, wiping out $12 billion in market value.

``Refining is very much back in favor,'' said Douglas Ober, who helps oversee $2.3 billion at Baltimore-based Adams Express Co. ``Even with higher prices, we haven't seen any substantial cutback in demand. They're cranking out as much of this stuff as they can, and we're throwing it in our tanks as fast as we can.''

The margin earned from processing crude oil into fuels rose to $24.68 a barrel on April 11, the highest since right after the hurricanes in September 2005. The margin has since retreated to $22.12 a barrel, still about double the five-year average.

``It'll be a fairly tight gasoline market all through the summer,'' said Robert Hinckley, an analyst at Rochdale Securities in New York.
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Old 06-08-2007, 05:24 PM   #301
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PastorMikH
Actually, he said it was just over a year ago when they were getting the 16 cents profit.

And profit is still profit (income over expenses). The cost difference between the $25 and $75 barrels is being passed on as well as the 5x higher profit margins.
Depends on what margin he's talking about. Here's good explanantion:

Gasoline Price Breakdown - This page details the estimated gross margins for both refiners and distributors. The term "margin" includes both costs and profits. The margin data is based on the statewide average retail and wholesale price of gasoline for a single day of the week. It is not a seven-day average. The margin provided here is an indicator for the California market as a whole and not for any particular refiner or retailer of gasoline.

The Energy Commission cannot estimate profit margins based on average retail prices and observed wholesale market prices. This is because detailed data on refining and distribution costs, costs paid by approximately 10,000 retail locations, hundreds of wholesale marketers, jobbers, and distributors is not available.

The following provides specific information on how the data in the tables are calculated.

Refiner Margin - Refiner Margin (costs and profits) is calculated by subtracting the market price for crude oil from the wholesale price of gasoline. The result is a gross refining margin which includes the cost of operating the refinery as well as the profits for the refining company.

The price of crude oil is based on the daily market price for crude oil from the Alaska North Slope published in the Wall Street Journalę. The market price of crude oil also includes its own share of costs and profits. In the case of a vertically integrated oil company, the same company that owns and operates the oil field also owns and operates the refinery. Several vertically integrated oil companies operate in California including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell.

For simplicity, the refining margins shown are based on producing one barrel of gasoline from one barrel of crude oil. No adjustments are made for other refined products.

Distribution Margin - Distribution margin (distribution costs, marketing costs, and profits) is calculated by subtracting the wholesale gasoline price (either branded or unbranded) and taxes (state sales tax, state excise tax, federal excise tax, and a state underground storage tank fee) from the weekly average retail sales price. The branded wholesale gasoline price is based on the average statewide branded refined "rack" price, information obtained from the Oil Price Information Service (www.opisnet.com). The rack price is the price paid at the point where tanker trucks load their fuel from a distribution terminal's loading rack. The unbranded price is also based on OPIS pricing information.

The distribution margin can be either positive or negative in value. A negative distribution margin implies that some gasoline is being sold at a loss. Similar to the refining margin, the distribution margin also includes the costs and profits of operating the retail gas station as well as various transportation and storage fees incurred once gasoline is moved from the bulk terminal to the retailer. Most branded franchisees purchase gasoline at a delivered price called the Dealer Tank Wagon price that is typically higher than the branded rack price. A retail-specific margin is not available at this time.
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Old 06-08-2007, 05:36 PM   #302
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Higher Food Prices Blamed on Higher Gas Prices

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Computer problem leads to serious flight delays in the East

Food prices are up and will keep fluctuating for the next several years because of new demands for corn. According to government surveys, egg prices are up nearly 19 percent in the past year, because of corn based feed price increases. The change hit home, at Channel 3's Memorial Day bbq: Senior Producer Jason Holder made 6 dozen deviled eggs: last year it would have cost $5, this year it was between $10 and $15.

Galeville Grocery's Bernie Rivers is keeping an eye on price increases--and the reasons. There's a fuel charge added on to deliveries, and that drives costs up, across the board.
In addition, most processed foods include corn syrup. Farmers are planting record amounts of corn this year, but their crop will go not to food, but to ethanol, the corn-based fuel additive.
Even bread prices are expected to increase, because farmers are planting more profitable corn instead of wheat.

Rivers says we'll get thru this supply and demand fluctuation, and says it might even be better to pay a bit more for food, if it's better for our environment.
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Old 06-08-2007, 05:36 PM   #303
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Anyway, since the refineries were not operating anywhere near there usual 95-98% capacity this spring, they probably were making $0.90 a gallon on refined product, for good reason.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:46 PM   #304
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Now $3.07 and still falling. There's a report due out tomorrow that should keep prices falling. I wouldn't be surprised to see sub-three dollar prices within a month, maybe in the $2.50 range. Barring any major hurricanes in the Gulf, we should be back near $2.25 - $2.50 by the fall.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:53 PM   #305
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger
Now $3.07 and still falling. There's a report due out tomorrow that should keep prices falling. I wouldn't be surprised to see sub-three dollar prices within a month, maybe in the $2.50 range. Barring any major hurricanes in the Gulf, we should be back near $2.25 - $2.50 by the fall.
Coincidental timing to the article out in the papers last week about how oil companies make insane profits on "hot" gasoline?

What part of the country are you in? Here in KC, the price for reg. unleaded in about 2.80/gal.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:56 PM   #306
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Coincidental timing to the article out in the papers last week about how oil companies make insane profits on "hot" gasoline?
I don't know to what you are referring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser
What part of the country are you in? Here in KC, the price for reg. unleaded in about 2.80/gal.
Colorado.
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Old 06-12-2007, 03:58 PM   #307
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Quote:
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I don't know to what you are referring.



Colorado.
It was an article in the KCStar last week. I'll see if I can dig it up....
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:01 PM   #308
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Here it is...

http://www.kansascity.com/128/story/141689.html
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:03 PM   #309
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser
It was an article in the KCStar last week. I'll see if I can dig it up....

I loved that article.. Talked about how it was too expensive to do in the US, but then showed that oil companies did it all throughout Canada so they didn't loose any money..

Showed that some places the average temperature of gas was around 100 while pumping...
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:05 PM   #310
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Oh that? I wouldn't think that has much, if anything, to do with the present decline. Demand has dropped slightly, gasoline imports are up and refineries continue to add capacity.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:06 PM   #311
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Quote:
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I loved that article.. Talked about how it was too expensive to do in the US, but then showed that oil companies did it all throughout Canada so they didn't loose any money..

Showed that some places the average temperature of gas was around 100 while pumping...
Well, they certainly could add the technology to compensate temperature differences at the retail level.

Do you want to pay for that equipment in every retail store in the country?
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:07 PM   #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser
It was an article in the KCStar last week. I'll see if I can dig it up....
http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/143182.html
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:16 PM   #313
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger
Well, they certainly could add the technology to compensate temperature differences at the retail level.

Do you want to pay for that equipment in every retail store in the country?
Ohh **** off with your constant defense of the oil companies..

They are suppose to keep the temp. at 60degrees by the standard they do not... They paid to install those temp. gauges in Canada to keep it at the correct temp... Explain that one for me, they will follow the law when they lose money but will not when they gain money???

Oil company says it will cost 10k a pump to fix, a 3rd party says they make the exact same device for 300dollars each pump.. Donger of course will only believe the oil companies statements..

Bottom line is they have been doing this for decades make a couple extra billion a year off of it.. Now they are getting blasted by Congress and others for their illegal actions..

Your defense, we will have to pay for it???

They have already set the precedent for paying for the device.. And even if the average American had to pay for it it would be paid for in one year...

How much stock do you have in oil that you want them to illegally rip people off???
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:21 PM   #314
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I guess my first question is how is the fuel getting so hot? Most, if not all gas station tanks are underground where the temp is always around 55 degrees. Doesn't make sense to me. Nevertheless, the average temperature over a 365 day period in the midwest has to be right around 60 degrees so I can't see how it's impacting me. People in the south are getting screwed though.

Quote:
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This is my favorite line from that article:
Quote:
Moreover, if consumers actually received more energy per gallon, they would likely be charged more for the gallon since they would be receiving more.
WTF? God forbid the consumer actually gets what he's paying for.
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:26 PM   #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiant
Ohh **** off with your constant defense of the oil companies..
I don't think they need defending. I merely try to explain the economics behind gasoline prices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiant
They are suppose to keep the temp. at 60degrees by the standard they do not... They paid to install those temp. gauges in Canada to keep it at the correct temp... Explain that one for me, they will follow the law when they lose money but will not when they gain money???
As I understand it, Canada required the retailers to install the compensating equipment at the stores. US law does not require it, so it hasn't been done. And, FYI, the vast majority of retail stations aren't owned by the oil companies. Did you know that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiant
Bottom line is they have been doing this for decades make a couple extra billion a year off of it.. Now they are getting blasted by Congress and others for their illegal actions..
There's nothing illegal about it. And, considering that we have seasons, and gasoline is regularly sold well below 60F, it actually more than evens out. Congresscritters really are NOT the best people to listen to about this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiant
Your defense, we will have to pay for it???

They have already set the precedent for paying for the device.. And even if the average American had to pay for it it would be paid for in one year...
Sure. You're of the opinion that the retailers should just eat the cost?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valiant
How much stock do you have in oil that you want them to illegally rip people off???
None.
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