February 14, 2012
The mean price per gallon for regular gasoline in the U.S. is now $3.51.
Up 12.5% from one year ago, when prices averaged $3.12 per gallon.
Just a month ago, regular was averaging $3.44 p/gal.
This continual rapid rise is cause for alarm and concern as unemployment
is increasing and the economy is falling deeper towards a double-dip recession.
Feb. 2, 2012
Here’s a quick update on U.S. Fuel Commodity Inflation, part of the
necessary and reoccurring household consuming expenditures.
Unless you have been inducted into the witness protection program or
hiding out in a remote secluded cabin…you know that gas prices at the
pump have been (recently) steadily rising since late November.
In the week ending January 31st, the national average for regular
gasoline was $3.439 per gallon. Up from $3.101 p/g one year ago.
That’s a 10.89% increase and a 4.5% rise just in the month of January.
The immediate question is; why? Well of course the most simplistic
and obvious answer would be supply and demand, right? Absolutely,
that would be the correct answer- except that demand for pump gasoline
has been dropping for about the past 3 months.
Demand for pump gasoline during most of 2011 had been approximately
370-million gallons per day, but over the last few months that rate has
fallen to about an average of 340-million gallons per day.
Meanwhile on the supply side, gasoline inventory has increased for the
third straight week, attaining the highest level since March of 2011.
And, with the stockpile of fuel, refinery utilization rate is down by 1.9%.
Typically, U.S. gasoline consumption has historically trended in-step with
employment and with Unemployment at unprecedented highs, the drop-off
in aggregate demand is really no surprise at all.
So the evidence reveals that demand has and continues to decrease, yet
prices at the pump keep rising. Given these two facts, we can surmise that
it is not the result of a Cost-Push trigger whatsoever.
There are many reasons for the jump in crude (both Brent and WTI)
which directly affect retail pump gasoline. DataAnalytics is working
on a story explaining those reasons, which we will publish in the coming months.
The bottom line here is, that the average driving/commuting consumer
is paying approximately 12% more for gasoline than this time last year.
Couple that sizable 15%-20% increase with inflated cost of staple foods
and the grim pressures of affordability to the average American household continue to mount.