Posted in: Commentary,
by Patrick DeHaan on Dec 31, 2009 12:35 PM
Now that 2010 is on the doorstep knocking, it's time to take a look back and see how good, or bad, it was.
We began 2009 with gasoline prices averaging $1.625 across the United States- January 1, 2009 was actually the beginning of the uptrend, the first day that prices began to rise. Prices didn't rise above $2 until March 26, 2009, when they were $2.011.
The peak in 2009 for gasoline prices occurred on Halloween, when prices were $2.688. The largest jump between days occurred between October 22 and 23, when average prices jumped from $2.628 to $2.660 just overnight.
In Canada, we saw very similar results. Prices were lowest in Canada on January 4, 2009, averaging 73.336c/L before climbing to their peak on 106.635c/L on June 20, 2009. The largest single day jump for Canadian prices occurred on January 8, when prices jumped near 2c/L in one day.
Overall, prices in the United States today are some $1.03/gal higher than when we started the year while Canadian prices are some 20c/L higher than a year ago.(READ MORE!)
Going by memory, the most expensive gasoline in the U.S. in 2009 was $5.31 in Alaska just a few weeks ago, while the lowest price in the U.S. was close to $1 (I don't believe any place saw under $1, but I could be wrong).
2009 really never saw prices fall in autumn as they typically do, instead, we saw prices rise significantly in autumn as refiners made extensive repairs and we got news that a handful of refineries were to close because they were not profitable.
As 2010 begins, refiner margins are still relatively poor, with refiners on the West Coast earning the most, closely followed by refiners in the Rockies. Refiners in the Midwest and Gulf are currently seeing the poorest margins. Consumers should be wary that as margins decrease, the likelihood of additional shutdowns will increase. This causes concern as it will likely fuel gasoline prices to accelerate at a quicker speed when the economy eventually recovers.