Holiday Weekends and Fuel price Increases: Fact or Myth?

Posted on: Sunday, June 29th, 2014

LONDON, ON – May  2014
The perception held by many consumers that gasoline prices increase just before a holiday weekend is simply not supported by objective data, according to a recently released study of retail gasoline prices by petroleum consultancy Kent Group Ltd.

The study shows that petroleum marketers treat holiday weekends no differently than any other weekend. “When retail gas prices change, they are typically caused by changes in underlying wholesale prices, and are clearly not due to the approach of a holiday weekend” states Michael Ervin, vice president and director of consulting services for Kent Group Ltd.

Ervin notes that the findings confirm that the retailing of motor fuels is more competitive than many consumers believe, and actually shows that petroleum price behaviours before long weekends are as competitive as any other time. “The myth that pump prices are less competitive before long weekends is likely perpetuated by long-held beliefs”, Mr. Ervin adds.

The study noted that there is a seasonal pattern to retail gasoline demand, and that wholesale gasoline prices rise and fall with the same seasonal pattern, which is unrelated to the approach of holiday weekends. “We generally observe rising pump prices in the spring and declining pump prices in the fall, even when crude oil prices may be exhibiting different trends,” says Ervin. “If pump prices do change before a holiday, it is almost always indicative of a general trend in wholesale prices.”

The study used historical price data collected by Kent Group Ltd., to examine the week-over-week movement of regular gasoline prices around holiday and non-holiday weekends.  Kent Group Ltd. is a Canadian consultancy that specializes in the downstream (refining and marketing) petroleum industry.

To read the entire report click here.

For further information, contact Jason Parent at 519-672-7000 ext 112, or via cell: (226) 236-0253
Kent Group Ltd. is a London-based consultancy specializing in the petroleum refining and marketing industry. Kent Group Ltd. publishes the Weekly Pump Price Survey, Canada’s authoritative source of petroleum prices (available at no cost on our web site Our clients span a wide range of government, NGO and industry organizations with an interest in downstream petroleum issues. A full description of our organization is available on our web site.