Friday, June 17, 2022

Gas is tight in US today, but it's been tighter before. With Friday's oil crash, we better see relief soon

Wanted to do a quick check back on gasoline usage and supply in America, now that we have a full week of data in after Memorial Day. Sure enough, after a rise over the Holiday weekend due to pre-planned trips, US gas consumption went back down to the lowest non-pandemic level in 8 years.

What also is at its lowest level in several years is the availability of gasoline, which would justify some runup in price. But you'll also notice that supplies were tighter this time of the year in both 2014 and 2015.

But the price at the pump in 2014 and 2015 was under $4 a gallon instead of heading toward $5.

In fact, June 2014 is when that last peak happens, with prices plummeting below $3 gallon by the end of that year and not coming back above it again until 2021. But to fair, things are different we're also pumping out nearly 100 million more barrels a month than we were in June 2014, and US gas usage is lower now than it was in 2015 or 2016, when prices were in the low $2s.

Doesn't really add up, does it? Tells me that a lot of this oil/gas runup is out of whack with reality, and today's action in the oil markets underscored my instinct that this is BS.
Oil prices tumbled about 6% to a four-week low on Friday on worries that interest rate hikes by major central banks could slow the global economy and cut demand for energy.

Also pressuring prices, the U.S. dollar this week rose to its highest level since December 2002 against a basket of currencies, making oil more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Brent futures fell $6.69, or 5.6%, to settle at $113.12 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $8.03, or 6.8%, to settle at $109.56.
Those "worries" is how Wall Street media describes "speculation", and I strongly suspect that's a lot of what has been driving the oil and gas markets, to the delight of oil/gas companies who get to pull in big profits on the higher prices without having to invest much more (if anything).

Given today's crash in oil prices, I would hope that means we see gas prices level off and possibly start falling by the 4th of July. It certainly warrants a closer eye on what these companies and their distributors are trying to get away with, and will likely try to continue to get away with in the coming months.

Gven how those companies would love to have Koched-up GOP Congress members be able to cut off Biden Admin attempts to reduce our usage of fossil fuel, I also wouldn't doubt some of the recent action is the oil markets has political motivations. And if I was a Dem running for office in 2022, I'd be loudly reminding people that the rise in gas prices has been due to corporate and Wall Street greed, and that pump prices should go down based on this week's crash in oil and the drop in demand.

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