As, arguably, the most anticipated month of the year for both cross-country driving enthusiasts and beach lounging sun bathers, the month of May, approaches, we must check our pocket books and weigh the cost analysis of driving the extra miles to visit the largest ball of twine or not.
The U.S. typically sees a drop in gasoline prices as demand begins to tail off at the end of the summer travel season. This year is breaking the trend with gasoline prices sitting at their highest for the season since 2014, due in large part to the global oil price rally. AAA reports that the national price average was at $2.867 as of Wednesday, September 26th. Gasoline prices were 27 cents higher per gallon than they were at the same time last year, and this backwards trend could continue into the fall and winter seasons.
Among the many geopolitical issues going on in the world effecting the oil market, there have been reports this week that President Trump is considering tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to lower gasoline prices. According to Bloomberg, “options are under consideration ranging from a 5 million barrel test sale to a more sizeable release of 30 million barrels and a third option of a larger release that would be coordinated with other nations.” Utilizing any of these options would create a shift in global crude oil prices.
On May 22nd we were hoping for a market correction prior to the holiday weekend. On that day the front month NYMEX RBOB contract settled at $2.2636. Climbing from May 2nd, close @ $2.0803. A whooping $0.18 price move inflicting severe pain on your local gas station distributor leaving retail gasoline margins negative in some markets and begging the question, who wants to blink first and raise prices?
It’s no secret that prices have sky-rocketed at the pump, but do you ever wonder how higher oil prices are affecting the travel industry, whether the mode of transportation be on land, air or sea?