The one silver lining I’ve seen in the current economic crisis is that oil prices have dropped like a stone, taking gasoline prices with it. I gassed up my 4-cylinder sedan for $26.88 earlier this week… gas was $2.19 per gallon. Tonight there are stations in the Twin Cities area that are advertising $1.97 per gallon. Crazy, eh?
The last time prices were this low was in early 2007, and I honestly thought we’d never see prices that low again. I guess I didn’t consider what a global financial crisis and associated commodity deflation would do. A lot of the current pricing is due to forced selling by hedge funds and other large investors who have been facing margin calls and other fun stuff like that. It gives us a picture of how much of oil’s $100-plus pricing was due to speculation.
It is interesting that diesel pricing has not fallen as far. I couldn’t begin to explain why that is the case. Other commentators out there can. The main takeaway I get from this is that the prices we pay for food & other goods will not fall much until diesel prices go down.
For those of us who drive or otherwise use a fair bit of gasoline can revel for the moment in the return of lower gas prices. I would caution against thinking that we are ‘reverting to the norm’ with regard to gas prices.
For your consideration:
Output from the world’s oilfields is declining faster than previously thought, the first authoritative public study of the biggest fields shows.
Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1 per cent, the International Energy Agency says in its annual report, the World Energy Outlook, a draft of which has been obtained by the Financial Times.
Emphasis mine. The original story is here.
The article continues in saying that even with additional investment, the annual decline rate is in the neighborhood of 6.4 percent. We won’t feel this for a while, especially if the developing world’s ability to import oil is compromised due to the global financial contagion that has been sweeping around the world. Eventually, though, the impact of declining supply will be felt.
Enjoy the lower prices while they last… just don’t be surprised when they start heading north again.