On March 1st the front month futures gasoline contract closed at $1.74 a gallon. At the time of this writing the contract trades were at $2.03 per gallon, a 14% increase in five weeks. Further pushing physical prices higher is the price differential (Basis) versus the futures which moved $0.07.
Notwithstanding OPEC production cuts, Venezuela sanctions restricting crude supply to the US Gulf Coast driving the market higher, retail gasoline prices are poised to make their annual spring run. Seasonal specification changes in gasoline have a significant impact on price.
The thinly traded holiday gasoline market bottomed out on December 24th with a NYMEX low of $1.2352 per gallon. Here we are a few days into the New Year trading at a high of $1.4146. Here’s what happened to push prices higher.
Good news for those traveling next week. Oil prices have fallen considerably which is impacting gas prices. Currently, the national average gas price is $2.68 a gallon. While this is higher than the price drivers paid last Thanksgiving, the national average was $2.52 a gallon, it’s still lower than this year’s high of $2.97 a gallon last Memorial Day.