Spot Distillate & Crude Oil Prices (Prices through April 5, 2000)
- Retail distillate prices follow the spot distillate markets, and crude oil prices have been the main driver behind distillate spot price increases until mid-January, 2000. WTI crude oil price rose about $17 per barrel or 40 cents per gallon from its low point in mid February 1999 to January 17, 2000.
- Over this same time period, New York Harbor spot heating oil had risen about 42 cents per gallon, reflecting both the crude price rise and the beginning of a return to a more usual seasonal spread over the price of crude oil.
- The week ending January 21, distillate spot prices in the Northeast spiked dramatically to record levels, closing on Friday at $1.26 per gallon -- up 50 cents from the prior week. Gulf Coast prices were not spiking, but were probably pulled higher as the New York Harbor market began to draw on product from other areas. They closed at 83 cents per gallon, an increase of 11 cents from the prior Friday. Crude oil had risen about 4 cents from the prior week.
- New York Harbor spot distillate prices remained highly volatile for several weeks. Prices initially peaked on Tuesday, January 25 at almost $1.36 per gallon before a brief weather respite and signs of cargoes coming to the East Coast encouraged buyers to begin to relax. By January 31, New York heating oil prices had fallen to 82 cents, only to rebound again as cold weather and supply delays continued, peaking February 4, at $1.77 as weather continued to hinder re-supply. By Thursday, February 10, prices had fallen back to $0.82.
- What happened the week ending January 21 to set off this price spike?