- 05 Dec
Saudis lead OPEC production decision, now what happens?
OPEC announced on Thanksgiving that they would not cut back their production. According to the Wall Street Journal, Venezuela was pushing for a considerable cut in OPEC production prior to the meeting. When Russia, which isn’t a member of OPEC, decided to maintain their production levels and not join in any plan to cut output, Saudi Arabia argued that the group must defend market share rather than prices. That decision became final as the cartel is now appearing that they will not push for supply cuts in the immediate future.
Saudi Arabia is now anticipating oil prices could settle at $60 a barrel, approximately $9 a barrel less than now. According to the US Energy Information Administration, if every $10 drop in the price of a barrel of crude is passed on to the consumer, that would equate to a $0.24 drop in the price of a gallon of gas.
From a fuel price management perspective, that means we could see average gas prices in the $0.20 to $0.30 range lower than today in the coming weeks. And as always, falling gas prices mean lower fuel revenues but stronger retail fuel margins.
What else can we expect from these lower oil prices? Auto manufacturers have reported robust November sales, especially in trucks and luxury vehicles that get lower gas mileage, and perhaps require premium fuel. Meanwhile, Toyota has reported that sales of its hybrid Prius are down 14% year over year. This could mean a slowing of the ongoing trend of reduced demand for fuel caused by increasingly more fuel efficient vehicles on the street. But of course it is important to consider that even today’s less than highly fuel efficient new vehicles are likely more fuel efficient than the vehicles they are replacing. So it is unlikely that the reduced fuel demand trend will reverse completely.
We live in historic times, as witnessed by the constant news articles about oil prices and gas prices. If savvy fuel analysts play their cards right and invest in premiere retail fuel pricing software technology, there is quite a bit of money to be made.