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Charles Langley's blog

UCAN's Four-Day Gasoline Gougecast

Every Monday and Thursday evening, UCAN looks at the local gasoline market and predicts whether or not gas prices will go up or go down. We give the forecast to Consumer Bob at NBC 7/39, but you can also get it here and comment on our forecasts.

Sticky Gas Prices: Prices should be dropping like a red brick

Gas prices have dropped 20 cents on average in the last week,
but the average basket of wholesale prices that we track have
dropped by 54¢ a gallon. So why aren't retail prices keeping
track?

The only thing preventing a price free-fall below $4 in the next
week or two are "sticky prices." This is the "Up like a rocket, down
like a feather" syndrome that Bill Lockyer referred to when he was
investigating gas prices as the Attorney General of the State of
California.

UCAN calls for Attorney General investigation of wholesale gasoline market failure

Late yesterday, UCAN, the Utility Consumers' Action Network, called on
California Attorney General Kamala Harris to investigate  the California
refineries that are responsible for the fuel shortages that have pushed
California's gasoline prices  to the highest level ever seen in U.S. history

The letter pinpoints eight areas that merit scrutiny by the Attorney General,
lawmakers, and regulators:

1)  Intentional under-production of fuel to restrict supply

2)  Overseas exports of gasoline - dumping fuel to restrict supply

Gas prices break another record

Gas prices have climbed almost 60¢ in San Diego since Monday, and 40¢ since Thursday afternoon to a new all-time record high of $4.72 a gallon in San Diego. Governor Brown has ordered CARB, the California Air Resources Board to allow refineries to sell their inventories of winter blend gasoline, claiming that it will improve reserves of gasoline by as much as 10% and alleviate the alleged shortage of fuel in California (see LETTER to CARB here).

Gas prices break all-time record high of $4.64 a gallon

 

Gas prices may have peaked, with a supersike averted.

When Chevron's Richmond refinery caught fire at 6:45 PM, August 7, the flames and smoke spewed 4,000 feet into the air and sent hundreds of nearby residents to local hospitals with breathing disorders.  The price of surplus gasoline in California immediately skyrocketed, sparking fears of a "superspike" in retail gas prices.

What we saw was the beginning of a superspike. In the following eight days, gas prices screamed upward in San Diego at an average daily rate of 2.7¢ per day, moving from $3.86 a gallon on August 7, to the current average of $4.10 a gallon today.

BOXERS OR BRIEFS? "Neither" says the trader, "I just lost my shorts."

Not only are traders losing their shorts, but local gas prices have plunged lower than the necklines at the Academy awards, dropping 7¢ a gallon since Thursday. In fact, with the exception of natural gas, the entire global petroleum complex is swan-diving toward lows not seen since June of 2010.

Oil price plunge on bad economic news, gas prices follow

SAN DIEGO - Gas prices are expected to decline in the next few days in the wake of horrible economic news both internationally and locally in California.

Consider these facts:

Brent Crude - down ten cents a gallon in the last week and
poised to bellyflop below $100 a barrel (trading at $102 this AM).

NYMEX Crude - Plunged below the $90 mark earlier last week and
moved decisively into the high $80/bbl today at $87 this AM, down
ten cents a gallon since Monday.

Gas prices soar in San Diego - within three cents of setting record price for the year.

As we predicted on Friday, gas prices have soared almost 13¢ over the weekend to a new average of $4.35 a gallon this morning. The current price is just three cents away for this year's record high of $4.38 a gallon.  The all-time record high for San Diego was set in June of 2008, when prices reached $4.61 a gallon. 

Gas prices drop for sixth straight week ... but 2012 will likely be the most costly year on record.

Earlier this year many prominent gasoline analysts predicted $5 a gallon gasoline this summer. In fact, we turned down several media interviews because we were unwilling to parrot hysterical predictions that gasoline prices would exceed $5 a gallon in 2012.  While we said it was "possible," we also made it clear that it was "highly unlikely."

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