Pump Price and Margin Both Drop 7 Cents

Whole downstream took oil price hikes on the chin

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- While oil prices rose during the past two weeks, the U.S. average retail gasoline price fell—and so did gasoline margins for both refiners and retailers, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations.

Retail price and retail margin dropped nearly identically. The regular-grade retail price declined 6.86 cents, to $2.5443. Retailers' margin on regular declined 6.97 cents. Retail price and margin are now both back in October territory after rising in November. Retail margin is 21.49 cents per gallon, 8.45 cents better off than it was a month ago.

The weighted average wholesale price of gasoline edged up a mere quarter of one penny since Nov. 17, as refiners held the line and did not hike selling prices despite the higher prices they paid for oil. Consequently, they, too, lost margin on gasoline during the period.

Meanwhile, the U.S. refining capacity use rate rose again, during this low gasoline demand season. Gulf Coast refiners appear to be still chasing product sales lost to flooding of plants by Hurricane Harvey.

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.

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