We are putting our gnarly fingers on the wrist of Vermont, checking for a pulse. The HUM is rapidly becoming THE random check for a crisp interpretation of Vermont current events. Got hum? firstname.lastname@example.org
February 29 , 2012
REMEMBERING KURT... AND PETER FREYNE Here's a Hum post from '07 talking about Peter Freyne, who's talking about Kurt Wright. It's a keeper.
Peter Freyne goes back in time to remember Kurt when he worked at Kerry's, effortlessly bagging groceries and chewing the political fat simultaneously. While Freyne seemed to be purchasing 69 cent Uteys, I was jawing with Kurt about the future of Burlington while he wrapped my 89 cent 40 ouncer of Haffenreffer nice and snuggly, with only the tip showing. Yum!
FIVE CORNERS UPDATE
Got to the Essex Junction Five Corners light yesterday and my car died. Sensing it was a major engine problem, and knowing I had oodles of time, I jacked the car up, put a pulley on the motor, extracted it from the housing, and went about my business trying to fix the darn thing. I was about halfway finished when...THE
So I waved at the motorists behind me to go around and kept working. Luckily, I was able to make the necessary repairs before the next light turned green, and everything was hunky dory.
Maybe an out of work mechanic could hang around the Five Corners and make some extra cash working on cars! Why not.
SHUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: BOTTLE BILL ANTIQUITATED! Governor Peter Shumlin doesn't care for the bottle bill "because it is an antiquitated system of recycling....", which is funny because the actual word, antiquitated, is, well, antiquitated, or more recently referred to as antiquated. Antiquitated is latin archaic, not in english usage for many, many years.
The governor certainly wishes the present bottle bill was archaic; he favors mandatory recycling.
More than 3/4 of people surveyed favor an expanded bottle bill.
What do you think?
LundbergSurvey releases data collected from gas stations around the country, every other week. Average nationwide price is 3.51 a gallon, about what we're seeing in Vermont. Hawaii really getting jacked, with the average being around 3.80. But please don't worry; the major oil companies are putting every bit of their profits back into R&D. Right?
Why? Let's go right to the source. Most of the major media outlets use Lundberg; here is CSP.
Look to the North Sea
Lundberg: Retail gasoline price rises to $3.51
CSP Daily News |
CAMARILLO, Calif. -- In the past three weeks, the U.S. average retail price of regular grade increased 11.57 cents, to $3.5101 per gallon, according to the most recent Lundberg Survey of approximately 2,500 U.S. gas stations. On a weekly equivalent basis, this is a slightly higher rate than in the prior two-week period.
To see the causes, first we must eliminate the gasoline market. Gasoline alone could not have hiked its price by nearly four cents weekly: Demand is down; stocks are up; and U.S. refiners are sitting on a large cushion of unused capacity. There is neither a shortage of gasoline nor tight refining capacity. Exports of gasoline did not bring this price rise, nor did recent plant closures. Our surplus refining capacity attests to that. And seasonal changes in formulations, which haven't happened yet, did not cause this price rise.
That leaves crude oil as the cause. But not domestic crude. The most common U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), moved up just 21 cents per barrel over the three weeks. WTI remains glutted and therefore desensitized to world oil market dynamics.
But North Sea Brent, nearly as high quality at WTI, is vibrating from reduced North Sea output, and from Sudan crude blocked by conflict between South Sudan and Sudan and arguably from Iran/Middle East tensions more than WTI is. Brent's near-month price increased $7.45 per barrel during the past three weeks. Far beyond our shores, a grade of crude nearly as light and sweet as WTI is playing a big role in higher U.S. pump prices.
Assuming no further oil price surge right now, we may still see a bit more rise at the pump because retail margin has been slashed. On average, regular grade margin is barely more than seven cents per gallon, versus more than 10 cents three weeks ago, so there is pressure on retailers to get well.
Despite the upcoming embargo by Europe of Iranian oil and Iran's threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, and despite upcoming further closures of U.S. refineries, U.S. refiners exporting gasoline, and the fact that retail price runups in the spring are common over the years, there is no reason to expect extreme gasoline price hikes this spring and summer--unless we assume crude oil prices will zoom.
That regular grade has reached $3.51 in mid-February is not a harbinger of a spring price panic. As crude is about 70% of the pump price, and no gasoline supply issues loom, crude will be the overwhelming determinant of the price path of retail gasoline.
Camarillo, Calif.-based Lundberg Survey Inc. is an independent market research company specializing in the U.S. petroleum marketing and related industries.
FIVE CORNERS UPDATE Wow, did I have fun at the Essex Junction Five Corners light yesterday. I knew the light would be a while, so I brought a portable DVD player, threw in Caddyshack, popped some corn and sat back. The movie ended just as the light was changing. It was great timing! I drove on feeling so refreshed.