Saturday, April 21, 2012

Price for Motor Gasoline in 2012

So there has been huge amounts of financial press discussion of motor gasoline prices, and the prospects for relief for the remainder of 2012. I decided to take a look at the data, and based on the EIA data series for the price of all grades, all formulations the prospects decidedly favor paying more, not less for the remainder of the year.

Using monthly price data, I took the average for the first three months (1Q of each year), the annual average, and the average of the remaining nine months (2Q to 4Q of each year). The linear fits for 1Q vs full year and 1Q vs 2Q to 4Q are at the end of the post, but those results provided the point estimates seen in the plot below (the EIA data series EMM_EPM0_PTE_NUS_DPG).

Punchline: $3.97/gallon for the full year, and $4.07 for the remaining nine months.

What we see is that in in only 4 of the 18 years (1994 to 2011) did annual average gas prices decline from the first quarter, and when they did the maximum decline for the full year average price was 2%, and for the 2Q to 4Q average price it was 3%.

The confidence interval results from the linear regression for the point estimates follow:

 The aforementioned data plots: