Price, Margin Still Buoyant

Pump price plateaus, says Lundberg

Lundberg gas prices (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

CAMARILLO, Calif. --On June 6, the average retail price of regular grade gasoline was $3.6911 per gallon, virtually the same as it was three weeks ago, $3.6871 on May 16, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. It's a statistical no-change, following an already steady period, with the April 18 price at $3.6918.

The price peaked five weeks ago on May 2, and is down three cents from there. A bit unusual, this current price plateau has been enabled by lack of much volatility in crude oil prices and in the U.S gasoline supply scene. Demand is showing healthy growth, and high refining capacity utilization rates are chasing that growth.

The pump price is on a cliff, about to drop down, unless the crude oil market decides to shoot up; however, the drops aren't likely to be deep unless crude oil prices cave. Assuming gentle moves for crude, retail gasoline prices may take some sure-footed careful steps down, a few pennies.

Downstream margins on gasoline have also been relatively steady--a small gain for refiners and a small loss for retailers, on regular grade. Retailers on average have 14.84 cents per gallon on regular, beating last year's full-year margin by a fraction of a penny.

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

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