Gulf Coast Gasoline Weakens as Seasonal Fuel-Grade Switch Nears

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened versus futures for the first time in four days as the summer driving season draws to a close and the transition between summer and winter grade gasoline begins.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, on the Gulf Coast lost 0.5 cent to a discount of 15.75 cents a gallon below New York Mercantile Exchange futures at 2:45 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg, the first drop since Aug. 16.

“It’s bearish because winter grade is easier to make and after the Labor Day holiday, demand starts declining,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline weakened by 0.25 cent to 5.5 cents a gallon less than futures. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel was unchanged at 2 cents below futures on the Nymex.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf Coast, a rough measure of refining margins for gasoline and diesel fuel based on West Texas Intermediate crude in Cushing, Oklahoma, weakened by 76 cents to $16.21 a barrel. The same spread based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil lost 86 cents to $12.71.