July 3rd, 2012

Gasoline Futures – U.S. gasoline prices at the pump, headed to $4 a gallon in April, are dropping toward $3 as the July Fourth holiday approaches, giving consumers relief and a boost to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Retail prices have fallen 15 percent to $3.329 from a peak of $3.936 on April 4, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the largest U.S. motoring group. They’re also 6.6 percent lower than a year ago, underscoring how slowing economies are sapping demand even as an embargo on Iranian oil starts.

Republican criticism of Obama’s energy policies has faded as oil fell as much as 29 percent from this year’s high in February and stockpiles ballooned to the most in 22 years. Americans bought less gasoline in the four weeks ended June 26 than a year earlier even as prices dropped, MasterCard Inc. (MA) data show. Last month, the Federal Reserve cut its estimate for U.S. growth, Spain became the fourth euro-region country to seek an international bailout and China’s manufacturing shrank.

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June 29th, 2012

Gasoline futures surged the most since March after European leaders eased repayment rules for Spanish banks, alleviating concern that the region’s debt crisis will spread and curb fuel demand.

Futures rose as much as 3.1 percent as leaders of the 17 euro countries dropped requirements that governments get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain’s banks and opened the way to recapitalize lenders directly with bailout funds. The dollar fell the most against the euro since October, increasing the investment appeal of commodities.

“It appears our old friend ‘Rosy Scenario’ has returned to the energy markets,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “Expectations for this summit were so low any news of a positive nature would cause a bid to come back into the market. All they did was lower temperatures. They haven’t solved the problem.”

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June 25th, 2012

Gasoline futures gained, outperforming heating oil and crude, on speculation that refinery closures in North America and Europe may make summer-blend gasoline inventories tight along the U.S. East Coast.

Unleaded gasoline futures rose after the U.K.’s Coryton refinery stopped operating, at least the sixth plant European plant to close since the start of 2011. Hovensa LLC’s St. Croix refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands is shut and Monroe Energy LLC isn’t expected to open the idled Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery in time for the summer driving season.

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June 20th, 2012

Gasoline fluctuated as investors waited to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce more economic stimulus today.

Gasoline futures swung between gains and losses before the Federal Reserve’s scheduled 12:30 p.m. announcement in Washington. The Energy Department is scheduled to report last week’s oil inventories at 10:30 a.m. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute reported yesterday that U.S. gasoline stockpiles rose 1.07 million barrels.

“People are waiting to see what the Fed announces and what the DOE report says,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

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June 13th, 2012

Gasoline futures rose as the Energy Department reported that demand for the motor fuel surged last week to the highest level since August.

Gasoline futures gained as deliveries to wholesalers increased 482,000 barrels, or 5.6 percent, to 9.13 million barrels a day. Inventories fell unexpectedly even as refiners pushed rates to the highest level since August 2007.

“Demand is up and you’re coming into gasoline season, you have utilization up and products drawing,” said David Pursell, a managing director at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. LLC in Houston.

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May 29th, 2012

Gasoline futures rose on the possibility that Petroplus Holdings AG will shut its 175,000-barrel-a-day Coryton oil refinery in the U.K., reducing European exports to the U.S.

Unleaded gas futures gained after Steven Pearson, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Petroplus’s U.K. administrator, said by phone today from the site in southeast England that crude supply at the plant will run out sometime next week. Coryton would be the sixth European refinery to stop production since the start of 2011.

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May 23rd, 2012

Gasoline Futures – California-blend gasoline in Los Angeles jumped to the highest level against futures in five days after workers at a Tesoro Corp. (TSO) refinery rejected a contract and West Coast gasoline inventories dropped last week.

United Steelworkers members at the Golden Eagle plant, Tesoro’s largest refinery, voted to reject the company’s last offer May 21 and to “initiate” a strike based on unfair labor practice, leaving it to union leaders to decide when a work stoppage would actually occur. A strike hasn’t begun and Tesoro hasn’t received notice from the union that it plans to strike, said Tina Barbee, a company spokeswoman.

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