With an unprecedented nosedive in oil and wholesale gasoline prices, many have asked me if the seasonal rise in gasoline prices is over. While the correction in oil and gasoline prices is significant, one shouldn't write off the path we took to get here.
The loss we've seen since Tuesday morning has approached ten percent, both in oil and gasoline futures. Refiners have shown they're ready and have increased production and supply. The good news is that even with gasoline prices falling, oil prices have fallen significantly as well, so refiner margins are still good enough for refiners to keep the spigots open and run high utilization rates.
However good things seem for motorists right now, I believe the legs on the oil rally will eventually grow back. It may take several weeks or even a few months, but all indications are that hurricane season will be more active. With the damage oil infrastructure has taken the last decade, hurricanes have become a major concern for oil companies. Damaged refineries, oil rigs that are found floating miles away, sunken rigs, damaged infrastructure costs billions to repair. I'd be happy if I knew it wasn't, but with the way things have gone, forecasts will scare people into going long on oil.
For now, it would seem that fundamentals have lined up and that investors are finally paying more attention to rising oil supplies, increasing gasoline stockpiles, increasing refinery rates, a stronger dollar, stable demand, and a questionable global economy.
The bottom line for motorists is that the rally has temporarily run its course and that the correction I have expected is here. We could see oil shed additional strength as attitudes change and fundamentals continue to improve. Looking at things, I may have to revise Memorial Day weekend gasoline forecasts down. More on that as the holiday approaches.