This is the fourth instalment of seven covering best practices to incorporate into your business for improved fuel management. Our industry experts share best practices to help you limit your exposure to market volatility, effectively manage fuel contracts and optimize your fuel buying and selling decisions.
“What happened yesterday in the fuel markets? Why did fuel prices go up, or go down? Was there some news that propelled prices in one direction, or the other?”
There is always news – not a day goes by in the fuel world that there isn’t something tangible that caused prices to move one way, or the other.
We live in a world where we are connected to the news 24/7. Gone are the days when we would wait until our newspapers got delivered or for the evening news on the television. Now, we have instant news feeds that get sent to our computers or phones.
For fuel buyers or sellers, the news is especially critical. Why? Because news causes fuel volatility – driving prices up or down. Not having news updates means you are likely missing key events that could deeply impact your fuel buying or selling decisions and, ultimately, what you pay for fuel.
In this blog, we dive into the benefits of staying up to date with market news and how it can help reduce your fuel costs.
Gives You an Edge on Your Competition
Among all price drivers, the weather can have one of the most notable impacts on fuel prices and create many hindrances on refinery operations.
Let us imagine that you are a large fuel buyer in the Atlanta, Georgia area purchasing 30 million gallons a year of fuel for your business. Hypothetically, weather events in the Houston refining centercause three key refineries to go into an unplanned “turnaround.” Suddenly, a panic hits the market, traders start buying up available tenders of fuel, and the “spot” market price in the Gulf Coast goes up by 20cts gal in a matter of hours. That means the buying price – at the rack – will increase substantially at 6 p.m. local time.
If you had a news feed – on a Spot Market Ticker – you would see that information as it happened. That would afford you the opportunity to call your supplier and see if you could dispatch your trucks before the rack price increases. That could save you thousands of dollars and give you an edge over your competition who did not have access to that news.
Empowers You to Make Strategic Decisions Based on Market Direction
Let us flip the scenario – image news breaks that a pipeline previously out of commission for several days is back up and pumping fuel. Psychologically, that takes the pressure off the market, and traders start “dumping” fuel for fear that prices will begin a multi-day downward slide. Having that information on your Spot Ticker would allow you to wait another day to buy fuel, thus saving you a substantial chunk of capital.
What are the news events that you should care about?
Here is what you should look for:
Refinery Turnarounds: “Turnarounds” are when refineries take key units into planned, or unplanned downtime. Refineries experience downtime all the time – these are highly sophisticated pieces of equipment that are prone to mechanical issues. You should know which refineries serve your local market (more about that in another article) and keep an eye out for turnaround stories involving those refineries. Having that information lets you get in front of potential supply problems and can save you a bundle.
Pipelines: Pipelines are the primary vehicles for moving gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel around the United States. If a pipeline shuts down or re-starts from a shutdown, that will significantly impact fuel prices.
U.S. Department of Energy Weekly Stats: Each week, the DOE releases vital information on inventory stockpile levels for gasoline and diesel fuel and the percentage level that the refineries are operating. Markets move very strongly on what the inventory or refinery output levels reveal. Seeing that information as it is released and reading the accompanying analysis can help you adjust your buying or selling plans.
Weather Events: Weather events happen constantly, and when they impact key refining regions like the U.S. Gulf Coast, that will influence your price. Refineries will typically take advance precautions when weather occurs. Knowing which refineries are shutting down or curtailing production in anticipation of weather is a critical way to adjust your fuel buying or selling strategy.
These are just some of the things you can look for – with news feeds that you can see on the Spot Ticker or delivered directly to you via email – you can word search or break down your news by the region that matters to you.
Where should you get news?
One of the best places to get your news is on a Spot Ticker like the one that Argus offers. The Argus Spot Ticker provides visibility and real-time transparency into what is happening with prices, and what the news is that is driving those prices upward or downward. You bring up your Spot Ticker in the morning and look at it throughout the day as you go about your job.
Think of it this way – if you can make better decisions on only one load of fuel, that will most likely cover the annual cost of a Ticker subscription.
Just 5 minutes a day. Ask yourself as you drive to work on Wednesday, “what happened in the market yesterday?” That’s all you need to start making decisions on whether to buy or sell fuel that will translate into dollars that can go back into your business.
The Argus Spot Ticker keeps you on top of every market move with real-time intraday pricing for gasoline, diesel, jet, ethanol, and RINs. Argus spot price assessors are the best in the business, dedicated exclusively to in-depth coverage of all seven U.S. spot markets East of the Rockies and U.S. West Coast.
For additional information about Argus’ downstream services, visit Argus Spot Ticker. You can also contact us at USdownstream@argusmedia.com with questions or to speak to an industry expert.