U.S. petroleum futures are on the move this morning, with Heating Oil +0.0342 to $1.5541, RBOB +0.0416 to $1.3832, and WTI crude +$1.12 to $46.66 bbl. Gasoline looks like it has rebounded, after losing 3cts/gallon on Friday, as news of Hurricane Joaquin changed from impending landfall to deviating off into the Atlantic Ocean. Gas prices in the Chicago Cash Market continue to be strong against the NYMEX as production in the Midwest is still significantly lower than average, as both planned and unplanned maintenance at multiple refineries lingers on. Chicago Cash Market had an increase of 3cts on both RBOB and CBOB versus the NYMEX from Thursday to Friday last week, continuing its’ strengthening. At the retail levels, average PA prices are $2.320 for E87 and $2.782 for diesel. Comparatively, New Jersey and South Carolina have the lowest posted retail prices at $1.961 cts/gal and $1.953 respectively.
Recently, the Obama administration lifted economic sanctions on Iran, which opens the floodgates for Iranian crude oil into the global market. Domestically, our gate remains closed. In 1975 the Energy Policy and Conservation Act directed the President to ban crude oil exports, while oil that has been refined into gasoline or diesel fuel can be exported. At the time, world oil prices were sky-rocketing, and to protect the U.S., as well as to limit exposure in the global crude market, the ban was put in place to keep crude oil at home. However, the energy market is much different today, 40 years later, and many are in favor of lifting the ban. Just last week, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee passed a bill to repeal the ban and the bill will now move to the full Senate for a vote. Some of the key points in favor of lifting the ban include an increase in GDP, putting downward pressure on prices at the pump, and job creation. “If Iran is allowed to export crude oil, why can’t the leader of the free world?” – Margo Thorning.