(Bloomberg) -- From record prices to blowout spreads and falling stockpiles, a handful of financial and physical indicators are pointing to expensive and possibly tighter gasoline markets across the US this summer.
Gasoline futures trading in New York are extending a record rally on Monday, while US retail prices continue to set fresh peaks for the past week. Gasoline stockpiles are falling to their lowest level since 2015 for this time of year. Futures spreads show record profit in turning crude into gasoline and bullish backwardation not seen since September 2017, when Hurricane Harvey briefly halted making and moving fuels on the US Gulf Coast.
All of this is happening just two weeks ahead of the start of the summer driving season with gasoline suppliers stocking up to meet what’s expected to be high demand from leisure travel and office commuters. Elevated fuel prices will exacerbate decades-high inflation and squeeze consumers already grappling with soaring costs from groceries to housing.
“We are approaching one of the busiest demand weeks of the year with tight supplies in many US markets and much tighter supplies elsewhere around the world,” analysts at fuel distributor TACenergy wrote in a note on Monday.
The fuel squeeze is most acute on both coasts. East Coast gasoline stockpiles are at their lowest level in more than a decade for this time of year thanks to shrinking regional refining capacity. While inventories are ample for now on the West Coast, untimely maintenance and a planned refinery conversion threaten to curb supplies in the coming months.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.