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Gas Gougecast for 10-07-10

BEGIN San Diego  12:43 PM October 7, 2010 ~~x~~~

"CAR"diac arrest - expect sticker shock
             
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GAS   - Buy, Buy, Buy, Buy
             
DIESEL  - Buy, buy, buy, buy

OUR PREVIOUS PREDICTION:
We said gas prices would climb two to six cents for diesel and RUL. We also predicted that regular unleaded would cost more than $3 a gallon on average by today. 

TODAY'S PREDICTION:
Prices will climb from two to six cents for all grades on average (that's diesel and regular).

WHAT HAPPENED:
Gas prices climbed only 2¢(the lower range on our prediction, so we are  overdue for a big jump over the weekend).
Diesel only moved 1.2¢, but that doesn't convey reality on the ground. The prices are screaming up on the street  - see analysis.

COMMENTS ANALYSIS:
For the first time in a nearly month we have seen gas prices surge above the $3 mark and it isn't over yet. The spot market price for surplus gasoline has jumped by 18¢ in the last week and 7 cents since Monday.The "spot" price is a good bellwether for future price movements.
The wholesale "rack" prices charged to brand name dealers currently average about $2.24 a gallon, which gives brand name dealers a "break even price of around $2.95 a gallon after taxes (average markup for a dealer is between 5 and 10 cents a gallon). Meanwhile the average price charged to Independent unbranded dealers they're the guys who sell gas at cheap prices) is $2.31, which means they have to sell gas for about $3.02 a gallon to break even.

This phenomena is called a "rack inversion." It is what we predicted last week when we talked about "inversion perversion" 
Bottom line - in order to stay competitive in the market, the Indies must lose about a penny a gallon just to charge the average price. This means prices are going up.

It is the same story for diesel, except worse. Diesel has climbed 25 cents a gallon in the last week on average at the wholesale level.
Insiders are blaming the price hikes on the shut-down of a Tesoro refinery in Anacortes Washington and an explosion at the massive according to Reuters..  Supposedly the refinery will be back online in a few days, but in the meantime, expect sticker shock when you tank up.

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San Diego CHANGE Thursday Monday  Thursday
    10/7/2010 10/4/2010 9/29/2010
SD RUL $0.020 3.005 2.986 2.955
SD DSL $0.012 3.290 3.277 3.213