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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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US Gasoline Prices at Pump

The US gasoline distribution system is fairly efficient in spite of people complaining about federal highway tax and local taxes. (Compared to the retail gasoline prices in Europe and Asia)

The CME crude oil futures, with WTI and Brent averaged, are about $122/barrel, or $2.90/gallon. For oil, 1 barrel = 42 gallons.

RBOB (wholesale, unblended) gasoline futures are $3.61/gallon. So, There is only $0.71/gallon for global shipping/refining costs. Generally, RBOB/unblended gasoline is distributed regionally to avoid damage to pipelines, storage tanks and tankers (railroads, trucks).

Then there are local blending (much of it per tanker truck), distribution and retail pump costs, plus local taxes. Retail gasoline costs are $4.00-4.75/gallon in the Midwest & East, $5.00-6.00 in the West. This is still very efficient pricing considering that $2.90/gallon is just from crude oil prices.

Keep this mind as crude oil prices jump around a lot, and some are saying that soon, crude oil prices may be $150 or $200 or even $300. It is fair to assume that incremental costs beyond crude prices won't jump around as much.


  • What is going on in N Dakota, Bakken oil fields ? Thought there was enough oil for USA independence ?
  • Shale oil production was cut back drastically in 2020. Now the US shale oil producers are not rushing in to produce when they see huge backwardation in the oil futures market (it takes several months for new shale oil to bring to the market), with WTI for April $117.21, May $113.13,..., December $91.57,..., June 2023 $84.88.

    I think that a temporary solution for the US to replace Russian heavy/dirty crude is with Canadian (friendly) or Venezuelan (unfriendly) crude. The US WTI is sweet/light, and the old US refineries have to mix it with some heavy/dirty crude for processing.
  • edited March 9
    Today crude oil prices dropped to $108 with OPEC agreeing to increase production. Will gas price stabilize as well? Reading further that Russia is one of the player in the OPEC cartel.
  • Well, pump prices go up quick, but come down slow. That is just the reverse of bank rates, come down quick, but go up slow. That is business as usual.
  • edited March 9
    "Russia is one of the players in the OPEC cartel"

    Yes- that's one of the reasons that the Saudis have been reluctant to help out on the situation. The other main factor seems to be that the US has a rather poor relationship with Saudi Arabia at the present time, for a multitude of legitimate reasons.

    Also, overshadowed by the war news, is the fact that Iran has broken off the talks with the US over the nuclear sanctions situation. Iran is essentially allied with Russia, at least with respect to relations with the US, and while they could theoretically supply significant extra oil to the Western nations evidently have chosen not to.

    So we have the rather ludicrous situation that Iran and Saudi Arabia, enemies, are, if not allied, at least both reluctant to help out against Russia.

    Also in the background noise are tentative considerations regarding Venezuela, who all of a sudden may not be such a pariah after all. At least for now.

    What a world.

  • Unless OPEC can replace the total Russian oil being sanctioned, today’s rally can be short live. Can Canada step up to this since they are already the largest producer for US.
  • According to the Associated Press/NBS News
    Russian oil accounts for only about 8 percent of U.S. oil imports, according to the most recent data from last year. That accounts for about 5 percent of Russia’s crude oil exports.
    The US embargo is mostly posturing- it will have a small effect here.
  • msf
    edited March 9
    The back of the envelope calculations produce a pretty fair approximation of costs, given some simplifying assumptions. It's worth knowing where the oil goes even if that doesn't significantly affect the final figures.

    One gets only 19+ gallons of gasoline from a 42 gallon barrel of oil. Most of a barrel of crude is used to produce other refined products. In addition, the total volume of finished product produced from a barrel of crude is currently around 45 gallons. That is, one gallon of crude results in more than one gallon of product. It's a matter of density - dense crude is used to produce less dense final products.
  • I almost "get" all of this. What I know is that what we have here is $4.68/gallon. Even in "good" times, we are about one-third higher than most of the mainland. (Honolulu.) My cheap-cheap-cheap senior bus pass looks better every day. The City of Honolulu is by now paying ME to ride the bus. The only drawback is that my kidneys will never forgive me. So, where's all that goddam money for re-paving, eh?
  • @Crash

    "an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect"

    That Utopia thing, eh???

    'Course, you could be waiting for a bus or train to the Polish border; if fate had another plan.
  • Perhaps if prices rise sufficiently, lease and permit holders in the US might be encouraged to actually drill.

    "Historically, the United States has been a net importer of petroleum. During 2020, COVID-19 mitigation efforts caused a drop in oil demand within the United States and internationally. International petroleum prices decreased in response to less consumption, which diminished incentives for key petroleum-exporting countries to increase production. This shift allowed the United States to export more petroleum in 2020 than it had in the past.

    Also in 2020, the difference between U.S. crude oil imports and exports fell to its lowest point since at least 1985. Net crude oil imports subsequently rose by 19% in 2021 to an average of 3.2 million barrels per day (b/d) as crude oil consumption increased in response to rising economic activity. We forecast that the United States will continue to import more crude oil than it exports in 2022, reaching an estimated annual average of 3.9 million b/d. However, we expect net imports to fall to 3.4 million b/d in 2023 as domestic crude oil production increases to an all-time high of 12.6 million b/d.
    Since 2010, the United States has exported more refined petroleum products, including distillate fuel oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and motor gasoline, among others, than it has imported. Net exports of refined petroleum products grew to 3.3 million b/d in 2020 and remained about the same in 2021. We expect petroleum product net exports will reach new highs of 3.6 million b/d in 2022 and 3.8 million b/d in 2023."
  • Funny, this: from Massachusetts. You think they might NOT be gouging? I'm rolling on the floor, laughing at that thought.
  • Crash +1
  • edited March 9
    Friends say Get a mule or a pedal bike
    Or hybrid EV
  • I understand tthat shale oil producers learned a hard lessonthe last time they over committed capital to drill wells that only produce a year away, but $89 a barrell is adequate for them to make a profit, especially since they can lock that price in

    But you can't help but wonder if this is also a FU move, telling environmentalists " Since you want to drive me out of business, let's see how much you like it when I won't pump now"
  • edited March 15
    Agree it’s a “hot-button” issue. Critics will milk it for all its worth. Such is today’s world of politics and eyeball obsessed media.

    My Hybrid Accord holds about 12.5 gallons. Goes over 500 miles on that. Very little “pain at the pump.” I never fully understood the fascination by many with big 4 & 6 passenger pickup trucks and SUVs for everyday use. A “life-style” choice for those who never have to haul cargo, tow a heavy trailer or go “off road.” But - yuppers - it has to hurt to drive something getting 15 mpg today.
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