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?
Gas prices are rising to record levels as the summer travel season is upon us. With higher gas prices, “the EIA says the average U.S. household will spend an additional $190 to keep their cars’ gas tanks filled this summer.” As evidenced in 2008, when gas prices rise, consumers start to change their buying behavior. Currently, American consumers are not seeing the $4 per gallon levels of 2008 but will make small changes in their lifestyles to compensate for the increased prices. Some consumers will cancel their summer vacations, but economists expect to see smaller, less drastic changes in discretionary spending. For instance, when a consumer pays more at the gas pump, they would be less likely to purchase items in convenience stores.