Just So You Know, We Are Running Out of Time

Here we go again.

Thanks to uncertainty regarding the proposed U.S. Government bailout of the financial sector (which, by the way, is looking more like a band-aid on a bullet wound), the dollar having its single worst day against the euro and other currencies, and commodity traders covering their short sales, the price of crude oil climbed over $16 per barrel today – the single largest daily price increase on record.

And it could have been worse.  At today’s peak, the price of oil was up over $25 from Friday’s closing price.

While this may end up being a one day phenomenon, the fact remains oil is still very much in a bull market, and what we thought was the commodity bubble popping might have been nothing more than slight correction during an extended upward trend.

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Ike Cause Gas Prices to Jump

Over the past two days, the price of gas has jumped nearly five percent — or just under 20 cents — thanks to the damage caused by Hurricane Ike to Texas area oil refineries.

Even though nobody’s particularly happy about the jump in gas prices, things certainly could have been a lot worse.  For example, today’s national average gas price of $3.83 is up just slightly over the past week ($3.65) and month ($3.77).

However, it’s not as if all news is good news: today’s gas price is nearly 40% higher than it was at this time last year ($2.78).  Also, there are now 11 states reporting an average gas price above $4 per gallon.  Of these 11 states, seven are located in the southeastern part of the country.

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Hurricane Gustav Update – Better Than Expected

Hurricane Gustav made landfall this morning near central Louisiana at roughly 10 a.m. as a Category 3 storm, packing winds of over miles per hour. Fortunately, since making landfall, the storm has been downgraded to a Category 2, and how has sustained wind gusts of over 110 mph.

The major concern now that Gustav has made landfall is the storm surge that is likely to come as the back half of the hurricane comes around the shoreline. Most forecasts predict the surge will be between 8 to 12 feet.

Clearly what has happened so far has been better news than what was forecast even 18 to 24 hours ago, when most meteorologists were predicting Gustav would strengthen to at minimum a Category 4 storm before making landfall.

And, thanks to this better than expected news, the price of oil has fallen, and the price of gasoline has remained relatively stable.

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Gustav Strengthening – Go Fill Up NOW!

Now that Hurricane Gustav has made it through Cuba, and entered the Gulf of Mexico as a strong Category 3 storm – with sustained winds of 120 mph – it’s high time that you go out and fill up your car, truck or SUV.

Based on the current projected storm path, Gustav will very likely make landfall somewhere between Galveston, Texas and Gulfport, Mississippi. In terms of gas prices, this is important because this area of the Gulf Coast is home to many of the region’s oil refineries. These facilities account for nearly 40% of the United States’ refining capacity.

Keep in mind, when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast region, it did so as a Category 3 storm. Should Gustav do as many forecasters are predicting and strengthen to a Category 4 before making landfall – meaning it would have sustained winds between 131 and 155 mph – chances are good that we could see even more damage to oil production facilities and refineries than what we did back in 2005. This certainly does not bode well for prices at the pump.

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