Pie for All

Pump price down another four cents, says Lundberg

Lundberg gas nozzle (CSP Daily News / Convenience Store / Gas Stations)

CAMARILLO, Calif. --Thanks mostly to lower crude oil prices, the U.S. average retail price of regular-grade gasoline is down another 4.21 cents, to $3.4785 per gallon for regular, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. The price has fallen 23.13 cents since June 20 nine weeks ago.

Crude oil prices drove the pump price down. If not for recently rising ethanol prices, the street price drop would have been deeper.

In this latest two-week oil price drop, all three parties in the U.S. downstream benefited from oil price cuts. Refiners got a slice of the pie in wider margin on gasoline, retailers got some in a slight improvement to theirs and consumers got those four pennies as a price cut.

Motorists got the biggest piece, followed by refiners, then retailers.

U.S. average retail margin on regular grade gained 0.57 cents, to 17.04 cents, after having been stripped of nearly a nickel in margin during the previous two-week period.

Retailer margin so far this year precisely matches calendar 2013, while refiner margin hasn't fared as well.

Gasoline supply is more than ample and gasoline demand is still being supported through November 2 when Daylight Saving Time ends and driving is crimped. Available daylight hours and weather shape the curvature of gasoline demand year in and year out, while holidays such as the upcoming Labor Day are mere noise, in fact holidays and vacations tend to put normal demand on ice due to work commutus interruptus.

The current pump price sits 8.01 cents below its year-ago point, an encouragement to demand. It is the lowest price in the Lundberg twice-monthly survey series since February 21 this year.

Camarillo, Calif.-based Lundberg Survey Inc. is an independent market research company specializing in the U.S. petroleum marketing and related industries.

Click here for previous Lundberg Survey reports in CSP Daily News.