General Question

Nullo's avatar

Has anybody else noticed weird gas price fluctuations?

Asked by Nullo (21939points) September 2nd, 2010

For the last couple months, gas prices around here have been fluctuating oddly. They’ll start at around $2.65/gal, then over the course of a about a week and a half, they’ll step down to about $2.34/gal. They’ll stay there for about a day or two, then suddenly shoot back up to around $2.65/gal.
All of them do this in synch, and I can’t, for the life of me, pin down the why. Is it just competitive forces, or are they all reacting to something in the market?

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18 Answers

Seek's avatar

I notice them go up and down whenever there’s a perceived “high travel” weekend coming up. They’re always a few cents higher between Thursday and Saturday anyway. It’ll start climbing this week, because it’s Labor Day, and everyone has a long weekend to play around with.

The last big one was back to school shopping, and before that, 4th of July.

faye's avatar

Gas prices in Alberta go up in the spring and again before each holiday weekend. Btw, we’re paying abot $3.60 a gallon on average.

bob_'s avatar

Energy prices (which are correlated) have been rather volatile lately. There are three general reasons: first, the economic outlook is rather uncertain. One day economic data come above expectations, and the markets react as if the economy is out of the woods, but then the next day economic indicators are week, which investors take as notice that the world is about to end. If expectations are bad, then investors assume demand for energy will be low, so prices come down. Second, weather forecasts in consumer regions have been a bit erratic: just how much natural gas will folks need to power their ACs? Lastly, we’re in the middle of the hurricane season: if a hurricane hits production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico, there would be a disruption in supplies (but since the markets follow forecasts and expectations, the prices move before anything happens).

Seek's avatar

Oh, hurricane, schmurricane. That’s fear-mongering and no mistake.

bob_'s avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Um, well, there might be some fear-mongering when it comes to hurricanes, but the guys who work the platforms in the Gulf do get evacuated if there’s a hurricane approaching. If those guys aren’t there, production stops, supply decreases and prices go up.

YARNLADY's avatar

Business as usual.

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lillycoyote's avatar

Gas prices fluctuate for all sorts of reasons and “they” do it “in synch” because all gas stations are generally under the same competitive pressures. Individual gas station owners do not really set the prices of the gasoline that they sell. That is determined by what the gas costs them and that is determined by people and forces over which they have very little control.

Ben_Dover's avatar

There is something called collusion going on.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Don’t know. As I live in country where our gases are sold in compensated price. We have the cheapest oil and gases in the world.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

In my area, petrol was $1.10/L Wednesday, and then up to $1.25/L or so by today (Friday). It is strange, because Friday has been the cheapest day for petrol for a few months now.

GracieT's avatar

What about the refinery fires? Do they have any influence? (I am curious, have no idea, and would like to find out!)

john65pennington's avatar

It does not take much for the oil companies to increase or decrease their gasoline prices. Christmas, holidays, end of school, summer starting, somebodys birthday are all good excuses for gasoline prices to fluctuate. most oil companies now are basing their prices on the stock market. if you watch the market prices, you can almost be assured the gas price will go up or down, depending on the days market results.

Seek's avatar

@bob_

“Hurricane season” is the majority of the year. Something like eight months. If there isn’t an imminent hurricane threat, there shouldn’t be any “ZOMG HURRICANE!” effects in the stock market. Just my humble opinion.

bob_'s avatar

@GracieT Refinery fires result in lower overall production, decreased supply and therefore higher prices.

@Seek_Kolinahr See here. Again, that’s not saying that fears aren’t exaggerated, or that there’s no price gouging. Energy markets are far from perfect.

Skippy's avatar

In the Cincinnati area, 2.75 for weeks on end, then earlier this week down to 2.47 and in a mere 7 hours, 2.79

You can’t tell me the stations are not “price fixing” If you have product delivered you pay a set price. Now it goes up and down so does profit margin. Why can they charge 2.47 then go to 2.79 whithout “gouging”

I don’t think every station in the area buys on consignment!

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