Retail Gasoline Price and Margin Down

Healthy supply likely to keep retail prices from growing, says Lundberg

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- The Aug. 23 U.S. average retail price of regular-grade gasoline dropped 3.99 cents in the past two weeks, to $3.5586, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. In the past month, the price is down nearly 12 cents. The current price sits attractively under its year ago point by 20 cents gal.

Gasoline demand is showing some strength, but gasoline supply is showing even more.

Oil production issues outside the United States, especially in Libya and the U.K., are contributing to oil-price strength. But U.S. gasoline stocks and refiners' capacity utilization rate are a picture of plenty.  Unless there should be a more serious threat to world oil supply, the gasoline supply factor will probably hold sway, pushing pump prices a bit lower in coming days.

In the past two weeks, both refiner and retailer sectors suffered gasoline margin losses, pointing to upward pressure on prices. But because of ample supply, this may not translate to quick margin recovery. According to this Aug. 23 snapshot, retail margin on regular is now just under 14 cents per gallon nationally.