Lundberg in

CSP, November 21, 2022:
The Bumpy Retail Margin Road
Gasoline price down 8 cents—more to come?

CSP, November 7, 2022:
Pump Price Drop Probably the Last
Oil up and may keep climbing

CSP, October 24, 2022:
Gasoline Prices Heading Down Again
Retailers harvest a margin gain

CSP, October 10, 2022:
Oil Supply in Wild Flux
Pump price reversal: up 21 cents

CSP, September 26, 2022:
Oil Down, Rack Gasoline Up
Retail margin shrinks by more than half

CSP, September 12, 2022:
Pump Price Slide Resumes
Retail margin regains

CSP, November 21, 2022:
The Bumpy Retail Margin Road
Gasoline price down 8 cents—more to come?

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The U.S. average retail price of regular-grade gasoline has shed another 8.31 cents per gallon (CPG) in the past two weeks, to $3.8074, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of U.S. fuel markets. This makes a total decline of 18.05 cents during the six weeks since its latest peak.

Gasoline margin at retail swooshed up an average 34.08 CPG during the period, thanks to the happenstance of wholesale vs. retail timing, bringing regular-grade margin to a spectacular but momentary 65.89 cents. The gain amounts to a dime more than was lost during the prior two-week period. Chances are very good that the retail sector will be forfeiting a chunk of that in the very near future, which would be reaped by hard-pressed motorists.

Example: In Charleston, S.C., the Nov. 4-18 period brought the retail price up 2.08 cents to $3.2622, while wholesale all-classes declined by 26.39 cents, so margin expanded by 28.47 cents to 37.54. In years past, that margin would have appeared rosy—that no more.

Another example: In Seattle, the average retail price decline was 11.95 cents, exceeded by wholesale price cuts averaging 42.25, widening margin by 30.31 cents. That fine although fleeting benefit brought average Seattle margin to $1.3842. Apart from the commonly too-low gasoline margin experienced all around the country, the volatility alone adds to the pressures of daily retail gasoline operations.

Crude oil price reductions brought these changes to the gasoline market, weakening big-time. For West Texas Intermediate near-month, the drop was close to $13 per barrel in the past two weeks. China’s lockdowns in virus control measures and the growing world view that recession is developing are two main factors named.

While gasoline was falling 8 pennies, the average retail diesel price edged up 2.27 more cents, to $5.3816. Distillate supply is still severely tight but the latest oil price discounts received by U.S. refiners were big enough to belie that, with refiners slashing prices at wholesale Just in the past few days, rack price cuts of well over 40 CPG were common. If this holds even a few days, truckstops and other customers may be enabled to down correct, spreading relief into transportation costs and into the overall economy, perhaps enough to slow inflation, at least in the near term.

While gasoline at retail costs 31.44 CPG more than it did a year ago, in the case of retail diesel the punishment is a painful $1.674.

Click here for previous Lundberg Survey reports in CSP Daily News.

Trilby Lundberg is publisher of the
Lundberg Survey of U.S. fuel markets. Lundberg Survey Inc. is based in Camarillo, Calif.

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