Gasoline Margins Hit 5-Year, Second-Quarter Low

Down 5.5 cents per gallon in June

Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News

Gasoline retail margins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- National retail gasoline margins reached a five-year, second-quarter low this year. Retail fuel margins nationally for regular unleaded gasoline, while having improved in early July (trending toward a record high for the month), averaged 14% below year-ago levels and hit a five-year low for the three-month period ended June 30, according to a research report from Raymond James & Associates.

Regionally, fuel margins were generally weaker in the Southeast and Texas, which averaged 15% and 20% below year-ago levels respectively for the second quarter. The results "temper[ed] our calendar 2Q expectations for Murphy USA, CST Brands, The Pantry and Susser Holdings," the investment firm reported.

National retail fuel margins for regular unleaded gasoline have fallen below year-ago levels in four of the past six months, according to the report, with margins in the month of June down 24% or 5.5 cents per gallon (CPG) year over year. For the three-month period ended June 30, retail fuel margins nationally fell roughly 18% below three-year averages and 14% below year-ago levels, reflecting a headwind to year-over-year growth in gasoline profits across the group.

Diesel margins nationally for the same three-month period averaged a more moderate: 4% decline year over year (-1.3 CPG). By week, retail gasoline margins remain volatile, ranging from 16 to 25 CPG in May and June, trending below year-ago levels through most of June.

"Of note however," the report states, "the third quarter started favorably for fuel retailers with margins accelerating in July (trending toward record-high averages for the month) following lower rack prices."

A regional breakdown based on Raymond James estimates and OPIS data:





Steve Holtz, CSP/Winsight By Steve Holtz, Editor in Chief, CSP Daily News
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