Retail Margin Back Down to Single-Digit

Lundberg: Pump price one-month decline: 25 cents

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- During the past two weeks, the U.S. average retail price of regular grade gasoline dropped 12.54 cents, to $3.4192 per gallon, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. In the prior two weeks, the drop was nearly as great. Total crash over four weeks: 24.77 cents per gallon.

It was mostly crude oil price cutting that caused this, but the poorly performing economy made a small contribution too: Acute underemployment is reducing gasoline demand each month compared with the same month last year, contributing some drag on price.

In the past two trading days, oil prices rose moderately but it can't be known what they will do next. If crude oil prices rise substantially from here, retail gasoline prices will surely follow but not as robustly as they would if demand were not so hampered.

Retail margin gave up 18 cents over the past two weeks, and on October 7 sits at 9.49 cents for regular grade.

Year to date, however, margin on regular is superior to annual averages of the past two years and retail price is higher than in the past three years, far exceeding the 2008 annual average retail price. On all grades pooled, margin year to date is 14.73 cents, better than any since 2008 while year to date pooled retail price exceeds the full year 2008 price by 32.8 cents per gallon.

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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