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CSP, September 8, 2014:
2014: The Best Gasoline-Margin Year of All Time?
Winter-blend likely to extend
downhill pricing trend: Lundberg

CSP, August 26, 2014:
Pie for All
Pump price down another four cents, says Lundberg

CSP, August 11, 2014:
Pump Price Drops Tapering
Retail margin slips, says Lundberg

CSP, July 28, 2014:
Refiners to Retailers, Motorists: You're Welcome!
Pump price down 9 cents; first big
drop of 2014, says Lundberg

CSP, July 14, 2014:
Retail Margin Is Golden … For Now
Gasoline price down on Libya, Iraq, says Lundberg

CSP, June 23, 2014:
Downstream Deflated
Refiners, retailers shielded motorists
from oil hike, says Lundberg

CSP, September 8, 2014:
2014: The Best Gasoline-Margin Year of All Time?
Winter-blend likely to extend
downhill pricing trend: Lundberg

CAMARILLO, Calif. -- The Sept. 5 U.S. average price of regular grade gasoline at retail was $3.4631, down 1.54 cents from Aug. 22, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. This makes for an 11-week downhill run, so far, totaling 24.67 cents per gallon since June 20.

The decline is mostly from lower crude-oil prices, and everybody except the producers got some: Refiners saw gasoline margin improve, as did retailers, and motorists got their cut. During recent weeks, the oil-price declines have slowed, as have pump-price declines.

Projecting from here, if oil-price stability is assumed, then motorists' downhill ride may be extended via pass-through from refiners and marketers of lower winter-blend formulation costs, According to Lundberg.

But the power of crude within the retail price is such that if oil prices bounce back up, the downstream and consumers may not see those lower winter gasoline costs even though they will be there.

In the latest two weeks, refiner margin on gasoline eroded some, while retail margin on was a statistical no-change (seven-hundredths of a cent). But retail margin is looking comparatively healthy at 17.11 cents per gallon on regular, up from a paltry 10.46 cents 11 weeks ago at the start of the pump-price decline.

Around the country, there are dramatic retail price and margin differences, as usual. Margins ranged from practically zero to above 39 cents on Sept. 5. Refining and other events alter the landscape, usually briefly: The Sept. 5 snapshot shows Indianapolis retail up just over 15 cents per gallon from two weeks ago, while St. Louis retail is down 12 cents per gallon. Meanwhile margin in the two markets is momentarily wide and virtually identical.

On an all-grades-pooled basis, U.S. gasoline margin so far this year is 15.14 cents per gallon, nearly a quarter of a cent above that of full year 2013. In fact, 2014 may even prove to be the best retail margin year of all time.

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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