Retail Margin Sweetest Since January

Pump prices finally drift down

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- The June 26 average retail gasoline price, regular grade, slipped 1.68 cents per gallon in the past two weeks to $2.8494, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. This after climbing nearly 42 cents during the prior nine weeks.

Lundberg Survey gas prices

Most of the wholesale price drop of the past two weeks fed retailer margin, which rose a dime. Meanwhile, refiner margin on gasoline skinnied by several cents as refiners slashed their wholesale selling prices.

Retail margin on regular is now a happier 21.42 cents. Average retail margin on premium grade, which continues to grow its share of the gasoline market per Lundberg data, is a pleasant 3 cents more.

Upstream, crude oil prices changed little. The two main light grade benchmark crude oil prices have been remarkably steady for more than two months as conflicting world oil market factors resulted in inertia.

Currently, the factors pushing retail prices up are being overwhelmed by those pulling them down. Lundberg Survey is estimating at U.S. gasoline demand growth of 2.8% for first half 2015, a bolster for price; but supply is decidedly flush, refiners are running at a hot 94% of total capacity, the federal ethanol sales mandate was relaxed, and neither of the downstream gasoline margins are pinched. This balance favors further price cuts at the pump. If crude oil prices are eroded from here, the retail price declines will accelerate.

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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