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Thread: Fuel prices

  1. #46
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    Malcolm, I guess it's a matter of scale. Even if the oil companies (producers) have modest net margins, the shear volume of business they do results in healthy profits to them and their shareholders. The little guys who run/own the stations these days that sell to consumers have no choice but to sell inflated soda and putrid hot dogs just to keep things going...fuel alone doesn't cut it. Many of them do huge business in tobacco products still, too. (sadly...)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Malcolm, I guess it's a matter of scale. Even if the oil companies (producers) have modest net margins, the shear volume of business they do results in healthy profits to them and their shareholders. The little guys who run/own the stations these days that sell to consumers have no choice but to sell inflated soda and putrid hot dogs just to keep things going...fuel alone doesn't cut it. Many of them do huge business in tobacco products still, too. (sadly...)
    Or fix cars! A lot of the gas stations can't operate a convenience stores.

  3. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Malcolm, I guess it's a matter of scale. Even if the oil companies (producers) have modest net margins, the shear volume of business they do results in healthy profits to them and their shareholders. The little guys who run/own the stations these days that sell to consumers have no choice but to sell inflated soda and putrid hot dogs just to keep things going...fuel alone doesn't cut it. Many of them do huge business in tobacco products still, too. (sadly...)
    Most customers also use credit cards, which bite into store profits. At Shell stations, I get a nickle (twice) for using Shell CC and Shell rewards card. How many CC offer up to 5% back on gas purchases? The Cash customer has to pay for this for CC customers. Several states allow higher prices for CC purchases to off set this cost.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Even if the oil companies (producers) have modest net margins, the shear volume of business they do results in healthy profits to them and their shareholders.
    Did the big Pilot scandal hit the national news? I don't know if they are in the rest of the country but Pilot is huge here. The company brass and sales conspired to offer volume rebates to major companies then proceeded to cheat them with tricky booking. Audio recordings and emails sent the big boys to jail. Their profits were even higher for a while!

    But even with straight sales I notice the Pilot prices are generally higher than most of the other stations.

    Prices here the last few days at the independents dropped more to the $180s for regular and even diesel was still going down today. That, of course, is if you don't by from the interstate exit villages. Captive interstate travelers always pay more.

    A number of stations here offer a discount for cash - is that everywhere?

    JKJ

  5. #50
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    Oil companies don't make a lot per gallon, less than 8 cents per is the usually reported number, similar to what the final seller makes. Obviously, the huge profits are due to volume. There are plenty of other products that have much higher margins and much more expensive by volume, even simple daily use things like soft drinks and even some "brand name" bottled water. That said people are far more aware of fuel prices for two reasons, it is an economically necessary purchase for most people in the US and it has a knock on effect of prices of almost everything we consume.

    We have homes in two states and in one most people hate when gas prices move up even a little, in the other a huge portion of the state loves it. In LA the O&G "plant baws" dream about $120 a barrel crude so they can get that new F350 Platinum with a brand new set of truck nutz to hang off the back. < possibly a very narrow stereotype that one is likely not to recognize unless they have interactions with "plant baws" or happen to watch "Refined" on youtube. BTW Refined is NSFW, well unless your work is sitting in a plant control room cooking gumbo and watching youtube instead of filling out work orders.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  6. #51
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    JKJ, I didn't hear about the Pilot thing you mention. I don't really see them unless I'm traveling back and forth to Florida, etc. I do sometimes buy from them or one of their truck-stop peers while on the highway, but it's always predicated on who has the best (CC) price at that particular moment in time. GasBuddy app helps with that, too.

    Here at home, all our gas gets purchased at Costco. I used to buy in NJ because it was often 30 cents a gallon less expensive than here in PA, but after they raised the fuel taxes about a year or so ago, there was no incentive for me to cross the river anymore. Costco price is about the same and closer. Of course, that also means I'm not spending other money over there, either as a result...

    BTW, what's "cash"??? LOL
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 12-20-2018 at 9:32 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #52
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    Will gas prices continue downward alongside the stock market?

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    Will gas prices continue downward alongside the stock market?
    My stock market crystal ball is in for repairs, but I talk to folks that are neck deep in the oil & gas boom, currently going strong in the Delaware Basin. While the media was busy crucifying Kanye West, the USA quietly became a net exporter of oil & gas. I think this bodes well for stable prices (barring government intervention).

    ...Might be as good a time as any for a Class-A RV, or that classic Shelby GT500 KR (IIRC a 429 Cobra Jet, schlepping along at 6mpg)?? You know you want one!
    Molann an obair an saor.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    Will gas prices continue downward alongside the stock market?
    I am happy about the first one (1.769 this morning) but I was looking at my YTD portfolio numbers and because I am heavy on index funds this is my worst year since 2008. 2013 and 2017 made me ecstatic but the last 3 months have been painful. Paper loses I know but still.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Huskey View Post
    I am happy about the first one (1.769 this morning) but I was looking at my YTD portfolio numbers and because I am heavy on index funds this is my worst year since 2008. 2013 and 2017 made me ecstatic but the last 3 months have been painful. Paper loses I know but still.
    It's less stressful to quit looking at those numbers! Maybe diversify and don't even check but every five years (depending on how old you are!)

    JKJ

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    It's less stressful to quit looking at those numbers! Maybe diversify and don't even check but every five years (depending on how old you are!)

    JKJ
    I'm 51 but have been ~80% retired for about 4 years now. The problem I have is I can't really get away from the numbers since I do my own taxes and since I still have a lot in equities and those are almost all index funds now so it is hard to miss the major market tickers when I watch any news.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  12. #57
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    I'm with you Van...things as of late have been pretty depressing, even with the more conservative mix I have at present for most of my retirement money. (that I actually live off of now) Frustrating for sure and like you, I can't just ignore it.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  13. #58
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    John, it's been a while since I have looked at gasoline and diesel prices, but you can get tons of data on pricing and supply from the EIA - for example, diesel and gasoline prices by region are available here - https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri...te_dpgal_w.htm.

    From the manufacturing side, gasoline is generally cheaper to make, and there is generally more gasoline than diesel in any given crude oil. So diesel should be more expensive than gasoline to start with.

    Just eyeballing trading location prices, it looks like wholesale diesel is ~35cts/gallon more than gasoline. Don't know if that includes an additive package, but would guess it does not.

    Then there are distribution costs - perhaps these are higher than gasoline - and lastly taxes, which can vary widely.

    I think this explains at least part of your question.

    A quick comment on oil company profits - it's a capital-intensive business, and has operational risk. A lot of what they also do is collect taxes from consumers, and pay royalties to land owners, states, the USA, and many other governments.

    Jim

  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    .....................................
    Here at home, all our gas gets purchased at Costco. I used to buy in NJ because it was often 30 cents a gallon less expensive than here in PA, but after they raised the fuel taxes about a year or so ago, there was no incentive for me to cross the river anymore. Costco price is about the same and closer. Of course, that also means I'm not spending other money over there, either as a result...

    BTW, what's "cash"??? LOL
    Jersey gas is still 25-30 cents/gal. cheaper even with the .25/gal tax increase. And many small/independent Jersey stations charge 6 cents/gal. for credit or debit.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Jersey gas is still 25-30 cents/gal. cheaper even with the .25/gal tax increase. And many small/independent Jersey stations charge 6 cents/gal. for credit or debit.

    Speaking of NJ gas, I may be the odd duck but I hate someone filling my car up for me, I somehow feel violated, I always try to make sure I fill up in NY, DE, MD or PA so I can avoid the attendants. I feel the same way in Oregon, maybe even worse. There was a station I always filled up at in Eugene and they had attractive young women as attendants, they always cleaned my windshield and I couldn't help but feel like Dragline in Cool Hand Luke during the Lucille scene.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

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