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Authors for macroblog are Dave Altig, John Robertson, and other Atlanta Fed economists and researchers.

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April 04, 2007

No Relief At The Pump -- For Now

If you read Lynne Kiesling today you will receive some very good advice to go pay the Wall Street Journal's Energy Roundup blog a visit. And if you follow that advice, you will find yet more good advice, this time in the form of a link to a item on "This Week in Petroleum" at R-Squared Energy Blog. And from there you will be informed of this story, from CNN Money:

... the Energy Information Administration said gasoline stocks, closely watched ahead of the summer driving season, plummeted by 5 million barrels. Analysts were looking for a small drop of just 300,000 barrels, according to Reuters.

The fall in gasoline supplies pushed gasoline stocks to the lower end of their average range, the first time in several months the supplies have dipped below average...

"We're nowhere near where we should be in terms of inventories," said John Kilduff, an energy analyst at Fimat in New York, who also pointed to strong gasoline demand numbers in the report. "We're seeing the kind of numbers we only see during the peak summer season."

Kilduff also noted the relatively low rate of refinery operation, which EIA said was at 87 percent capacity last week.

"The failure of the refinery rate to go to 90 percent is spelling lots of trouble for us," he said.

From the Energy Information Administration report:

For years, the typical summer driving season was considered to occur between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, with peak summer gasoline demand occurring sometime after the Fourth-of-July holiday. While this characterization still holds, in recent years, demand patterns have shifted somewhat to include more robust levels of gasoline demand earlier in the season with a pre-summer peak in gasoline prices.

Add it up and what do we get?  One more stress point for the economy in the near-term, and hopeful thinking about what the rest of the year will bring:

Consequently, as gasoline demand began to grow in earnest in April, gasoline supply has failed to keep pace, resulting in continued significant stock declines and sharp upward pressure on gasoline prices in recent weeks. Nevertheless, while the short term outlook for gasoline markets appears to be tight, the longer term outlook remains unclear. Thus, spring breakers will most likely notice higher gasoline prices during April, compared with last year. Following spring break, however, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day vacationers may face different, possibly softer, markets.

Somehow I just dont find an "unclear" outlook and "possibly softer, markets" all that comforting.

Side note:  For a discussion of new research on the historical effect of oil price changes on economic growth, check out Econbrowser.   

April 4, 2007 in Energy | Permalink


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I'm glad that you raised this issue.

I was in the North Georgia and North Carolina mountains during the past few weeks (ok, small mountains for those out West or in Europe). Sherry was busy trying her best to kill me while hiking to all those unidentified secret waterfalls. (I'm convinced that she will eventually achieve success on this effort.)

I noticed something that I had never encountered before at this time of year. There was no 87 and 89 octane available for a few days at stations along a 30 mile trek that we normally travel. Note, of course, that this occurred prior to the beginning of the prime tourist season which kicks off on 9 April.

So, I asked what was up. The station operators were surprised, as they had no advance notice on the shortfall in replinishing their tanks.

Yeah, I poured 93 octane into the the new four wheel drive Suburban and trudged on down the road.

Admittedly, my fuel economy improved slightly. It should for the price difference.

Ah, life in the hills of North Georgia. Waterfall bound.

Posted by: Movie Guy | April 05, 2007 at 01:47 AM

Oh, yeah - I have a killer humor piece for you.

Do pass it along.


Texas Chili Cook-Off

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there's no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas.

If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park. Judge # 3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL.


Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting sh*t-faced from all of the beer.

Judge # 1 -- Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb. woman is starting to look HOT ... just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment! **I should take note that I am worried about judge number 3. He appears to be a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing. It's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 - No Report

Posted by: Movie Guy | April 05, 2007 at 01:59 AM

Let's blame it on daylight savings time.

Posted by: Lord | April 06, 2007 at 11:22 AM

You can fool some of the people some time but you cant fool all the people allof the time these numbers that are put out to the public are nothing but bull shit and you can take that to the bank. As long as we have money there will be plenty of gas at the pumps. When they put this country into the poor house then it will be to late the hogs are feeding at the trough and there is no end to their greed.

Posted by: art miller | April 08, 2007 at 07:33 PM

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