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Can The U.S. Afford A Conflict With Saudi Arabia?

1. Gasoline Prices Drop Back After Brief Surge

- After several weeks of increasing gasoline prices, the trend is declining again with the national average dropping back to $3.84 per USG.

- Refinery outages in the US west coast and Midwest were the main drivers of fuel price growth, resulting in California prices edging higher by more than $1/USG whilst Texas saw further decreases.

- The gap between wholesale and retail prices as their spread remains above $1 per barrel, has prompted White House calls against price-gouging by oil companies.

- With US refineries running at 89% of capacity, up 5% compared to this time around last year, it will not be gasoline but diesel that would be under serious upward pressure over the upcoming weeks.

2. Europe is Mopping Up Brazilian Ethanol

- The inexorably high costs of natural gas and electricity in Europe have hurt the continent’s ethanol industry, forcing many producers to halt or curb production, however, gasoline blenders have found a new savior – Brazil.

- Ethanol prices have been in a freefall in Brazil after President Bolsonaro scrapped federal taxes on energy and since they were heavier on fossil fuels, ethanol lost its competitive edge over gasoline (the country’s flexible-fuel vehicles can run on either).

- As a consequence, the European pull on Brazil’s ethanol has been so high that local producers of it can no longer keep up with demand –…

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