Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oil Hits Seven Week Low - How Low Can It Go?

Last Friday oil continued its two week decline bottoming out at $123.40 for US crude and $124.39 for Brent crude, both down over $2.00 for the day. Oil peaked two weeks ago at a record $147.37 a barrel and has been falling ever since.

So what does this mean to the consumer? The rule of thumb is the price of a gallon of gas should drop 2.5 cents for every one dollar drop in a barrel of oil. Thus gas prices should fall 57.5 cents a gallon based on the decline we have already seen.

It has dropped about 14 cents meaning a true market adjustment should see an additional fall of gas prices of around 43 cents, driving the average price from $3.94 to $3.51. This should conveniently happen before the November election with about 25 cents by September.

Now that is if prices remain as they are today. I expect prices to fall to about $90 a barrel by election day, meaning an additional $34 reduction in oil and an additional 85 cents in gas. By all rights our gas should cost about $2.68 a gallon by the time the next president is settled in at the White House.

Why does it take so long for gas prices to fall? Well the oil refiners and gas retailers benefit the least from high gas prices so they are taking their time lowering prices in order to get a little of the oil profits so greedily grabbed already by the speculators and producers.

So if the market forces cannot explain the high oil prices what is the reason? Read my article on the financial institutions. It may help shed some light.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

People have the same perception problem with oil as they do with real estate: something that gets a huge price run-up and then backs off a little is not a bargain! Nor is the problem fixed because the price fell slightly. A prime example is the real estate folks referring to the current market conditions as a "buyer's market." To make matters worse, the media readily helps perpetuate these myths.