Thursday, February 2, 2023

So why did gas jump up in January? Wasn't supply or demand.

While we're not at the $4 and $5 a gallon levels of last Spring and Summer, gas prices did climb in January, rising by 33 cents and hitting an average US price of $3.50 a gallon by the end of the month. That double-digit percentage increase in gasoline will likely stop the decline in inflation, if only for one month.

So what's going on here? Did gas consumption go up at the end of 2022 and the first month of 2023, and is that the reason prices have gone up? Doesn't appear to be the case.

Ok, has there been a shortage of oil and gasoline that's bumping these prices up? Nope, as the amount of gasoline available really isn't any different than what we had in most other Januarys from 2015 through 2019.

And it does seem noteworthy that oil prices have dropped by $3 on Wednesday and is back below $76 a barrel, as inventories continued to grow at the end of January, and the economic outlook got a bit dimmer. So this feels like another case of oil and gasoline being bid up with no fundamentals behind it.

Now call me a skeptic, but I think we need to be extra vigilant about oil prices and availability throughout 2023, given this news from earlier in the week.

Gotta stay on these folks at every turn. Just like much of last year, supply and demand isn't any different, prices shouldn't be either.

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