Gasoline futures fell for the first time in three days, sliding from the highest level in more than four months.
March futures declined 0.7 percent. The discount to April rose to 18.73 cents after dropping Feb. 15 to 17.93 cents, the smallest gap in eight days, an indication traders considered March winter-grade fuel undervalued. April represents summer- grade gasoline, more costly to refine and blend. Prices rose 2.5 percent last week on concern that refinery closures and seasonal maintenance would tighten supply.
“The gasoline rally been overdone as refiners operate at higher rates than historically and gasoline stocks are adequate given the heavy turnaround schedule,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “Over the next two to three weeks, refiners will return from their maintenance and improve the supply situation.”
March gasoline declined 2.11 cents to $3.1134 a gallon at 9:52 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on volume that was 51 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day.
The motor fuel has been the top performer this year on the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities with an 11 percent gain.
Heating oil for March delivery fell 2.72 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $3.1832 a gallon, the lowest level in two weeks, on volume that was 18 percent above the 100-day average. Prices sank 0.9 percent last week, the first drop in five weeks.
“Heating oil stocks, while lower than last year, are adequate and we’re two-thirds of the way through the heating oil season,” Lipow said.
The retail price for regular gasoline, averaged nationwide, rose 1.8 cents to $3.748 a gallon, the highest level since Oct. 16, AAA said today on its website. Prices have risen every day since Jan. 17, advancing 45.6 cents.
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