Monday, January 12, 2015

Two Dollar Gas

On April 24, 2004 (when I was living in Ossining, New York) I bought gas and paid $1.939 per gallon.  A couple of weeks later I bought gas again and the price had risen to $2.039 per gallon.  This appears to have been the first time I had ever paid over $2 per gallon and I vaguely recall noting that at the time and wondering if I would ever pay less than $2 again.  For a while this seemed doubtful as the price bounced around but stayed above $2 and trended higher.  On July 26, 2008 I paid $4.499 per gallon.  But then the financial crisis hit and demand plummeted driving the price ever lower.  Five months later on December 26, 2008 I paid $1.979 per gallon.  This was more or less the low and the price had moved back above $2 at my next fill up (although I did pay less the $2 per gallon a couple of times in April 2009 in New Jersey where the gas tax is about $.35 less per gallon than in New York).  On July 2, 2014 (having moved to New Jersey) I paid $3.399 per gallon.  But then with growing over supply of crude oil prices began to drop, slowly at first and then more rapidly.  When I bought gas on Friday (January 9, 2015) I once again paid less than $2 ($1.959 per gallon to be exact).  It remains to be seen how low the price will go and how long it will remain below $2.

The lower price is nice in isolation but probably isn't really in my overall best interest at this point.  I purchased about 425 gallons of gas in 2014 paying an average price of about $3.20 per gallon.  So if I buy the same amount in 2015 and pay an average price of $2 per gallon I will save about $510 or just less than $10 per week.  This isn't too impressive and is much less than what I am likely to lose on my oil price sensitive investments if crude oil prices remain depressed.

See here for a graph of national gas average prices over the last 11 years.  When I was living in Ossining I seem to have been paying about $.40 per gallon more than the national average whereas now in New Jersey I am paying about $.10 per gallon less.

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