Changes in Behavior

Good morning,

I’m going to keep this short and sweet so you can get back outside and enjoy the spring weather that finally arrived!

Crude prices are continuing to stay at the highest levels since 2014 and WTI is preparing to break through $70/barrel. Gasoline retail prices are now over $2.50/gallon and diesel retail prices are over $3.00/gallon. Historically, these prices mean that customers start to consider changing behaviors. The amount of “free spending” money that has been sucked out of the economy due to these price increases is staggering. Based on the amount of gasoline gallons sold per day (this does not even include diesel fuel), $300,000,000/day additional is now being spent on gasoline compared to when gasoline prices were at $2.00/gallon! The increase in money spent on fuel is going to catch up quickly to consumer spending behaviors. Right now the risk premium is still on for crude. We need about $8/barrel to come off of crude prices to get cost back in line with consumer sentiment. But I don’t see a possibility of that happening until we get through the Iran nuclear deal deadline in the middle of May. So for now, be prepared to spend your extra cash on gasoline.

Propane prices have skyrocketed in the last week due to do increased demand in April and lack of building inventory. I don’t expect to see retail prices go much lower, if at all, over the coming two months. Next year’s contract pricing will be released probably in June. Summer fills are probably going to be very close to today’s prices. More information will continue to be released and updated.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.
Crawford Oil and Propane

$70 WTI By End of April?

Good morning,

Crude oil prices have been on an absolute run this week. Continuing from the Syria attacks, crude prices continue to find bullish support in geopolitical tensions. Traders are worried that Trump will pull out of the Iran deal and cause 500k barrels of crude to come off the table which would put the market into deficit by end of summer. In addition, physical inventories in the U.S. dropped to four year lows this week. Then after WTI broke through $67/barrel, Saudi Arabia came out and said that they would love to push WTI crude past $70/barrel towards $80/barrel. Seems like no matter what anyone says that can be interpreted as bullish for crude, traders are finding tread to grind prices higher. An interesting fact though is that the U.S. increased production to another record and is now pumping 10.6M barrels/day of crude. We are getting very close to over taking Russia and our increase in production is happening much faster than expected. At these rates, without any change in supply disruptions from the Middle East or Venezuela, the world crude oil market will start to move into surplus inventory building by the end of the year or sooner. In other words, a major correction could be on the horizon towards the end of the year. I just don’t see what has drastically changed in true physical crude fundamentals to cause a $10/barrel spike in prices. But for now, we are holding on tight until the end of the month.

In local news, spreads in gasoline prices are all over the marketplace. The fact is that gasoline and diesel prices have gone up. I expect to see gasoline prices well above $2.49 gallon, and diesel prices above $2.89/gallon.

Propane has steadied out due to the massive increase in demand for April. We are officially experiencing the coldest April on record which is very supportive of propane prices. Like crude oil, we are hanging on tight until the end of the month and then reevaluating. Information on summer fill and next season’s contracts will follow at some point in June.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.
Crawford Oil and Propane