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Fluctuation in Gasoline Prices

Oil prices are up again after taking a plunge last week. And that means gasoline prices are likely to fluctuate this week. Laurie Johnson reports.



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After spiking up rapidly, gasoline prices had just started to slowly come down again in response to last week’s drop in crude oil prices. But the relief may be short-lived. Andy Lipow is president of Lipow Oil Associates, a consulting firm. He says gasoline retailers are caught when prices rise.

“The retailer who has to purchase his gasoline at the truck rack, sees an immediate impact in the market price and is passing that on to the consumer. As prices fall, the independent business man, who’s the owner of the majority of the service stations that we see around town, sometimes is stuck with some high-priced gasoline and is reluctant to reduce his price immediately as the market goes down and he wants to liquidate his inventory first.”

Lipow says there’s an added problem in that the supply of gasoline is down.

“Since the beginning of the year, crude oil inventories have risen about nine percent, but on the other hand gasoline inventories since the middle of February have declined 15 percent. So what we have is a problem of refineries, through a combination of scheduled and unscheduled outages, they are unable to take the crude oil and produce gasoline and diesel fuel for the consumer.”

The gasoline futures market is likely to fluctuate this week because Lipow says investors are concerned about possible flooding along the Mississippi River near a number of oil refineries.

KUHF contributes to, a public radio reporting project. “Transportation Nation combines the work of public radio newsrooms and their listeners as the way we build, rebuild, and get around the nation changes.”

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Executive Director of Content Operations

As Executive Director of Content Operations, Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads the strategic vision and initiatives for News, Digital, Radio Operations and Talk Shows on all of Houston Public Media’s platforms. She brings 20 years of experience in journalism and content development to the role. Her focus is on reaching new audiences,...

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