Nashua, NH (PressExposure) May 05, 2009 -- The staff at GasPredictor.com are getting into the odd habit of celebrating when gas prices go up. Of course, the cause for celebration is not the higher prices, but the team's correct forecast. That, and the fact that they all filled their tanks last night to avoid paying today's higher prices.
While GasPredictor.com has predicted other sudden price increases before, today's event was unusual in several respects. For one thing, it occurred simultaneously almost everywhere in the U.S. Most of these price "pops" in the past have taken several days to spread across the country. Another unusual thing about today's increases is that they occurred in several cities which had already had significant increases in the price of gasoline in the past few days.
The most dramatic increase in gas prices today was in Chicago. This evening, the retail price for regular unleaded gas as measured by GasPredictor.com is $2.319 per gallon, or ten cents per gallon higher than it was yesterday. This increase is all the more surprising because it follows two business days in a row of three-cent increases.
And GasPredictor.com called it perfectly.
Even though gas prices in Chicago were fully six cents per gallon higher on Monday (5/4/09) than they had been the previous Thursday, GasPredictor.com warned its subscribers that there would be still more substantial price increases. In the Chicago edition of the "Gas Predictor Newsletter" for May 4 was the note:
Expect retailers to hit Chicago with another increase tomorrow.
They certainly did.
But these price increases were not restricted to Chicago. In the national Edition of the "Gas Predictor Newsletter," GasPredictor.com said:
Look for large price 'pops' in places that have not seen much of an increase lately, such as in the Northeast and southern Atlantic Seaboard. ... Several cities for which we publish forecasts have new records for upward pressure today, namely Atlanta, Houston, and Raleigh. We fully expect each of these cities will see a price 'pop' of at least three cents per gallon tomorrow.
That forecast also came true in stunning fashion today:
Atlanta: $0.01 per gallon (first increase in 4 business days).
Nashua (NH): $0.04 per gallon (first increase in 12 business days).
Raleigh: $0.02 per gallon (first increase in 7 business days).
Besides the five cities for which GasPredictor.com publishes its forecasts, they also monitor gas prices in many other cities in the United States. They recorded price increases between four and eight cents per gallon in cities from Long Island to San Francisco, all in the past 24 hours.
According to Chuck Bonner, lead analyst for GasPredictor.com, the country is in for a slight reprieve tomorrow. "Prices are heading upward tomorrow, but it's a question of how much and how fast. If gasoline futures decrease tomorrow, retail prices will rise only slightly, but if futures increase tomorrow, we could see more popping at the gas pump," Bonner predicts.
Although these dramatic days of double-digit price increases attract a bit of attention, GasPredictor.com is even happier about the days when prices decrease. As Bonner explains, "If we tell people to hold off buying gas until tomorrow, and then prices go down three or four cents per gallon, that's when our predictions really pay off."
For the longer term, Bonner expects gasoline prices to increase, but he is not making any specific predictions beyond tomorrow. "Our prediction algorithm only works a day or two into the future, so prices beyond Thursday are as unknown to us as they are to everyone else," Bonner says.
GasPredictor.com has an enviable success rate, correctly predicting changes in the price of gasoline - both up and down - 100% of the time in four cities, and 98% of the time in Atlanta. They plan to extend their preditions into a total of a dozen cities across the U.S. by 2010, and to begin publishing predictions for the price of diesel fuel as well.
Annual and quarterly subscriptions to the Gas Predictor email newsletter are available in limited numbers exclusively through the Web site, at [http://www.gaspredictor.com/SubscribeMain.htm].