In the fuel business, price transparency is everything. But how do you know what level of price discovery is right for your unique business? And once you have the right gasoline and diesel price report in place, how do you use it?
Look no further than this helpful chart! Answer the questions and follow the arrows to the ideal level of price transparency for your specific business needs. Then, we'll take you on a tour of each report!
Quick and painless, right? Now that you know, here's a little more on each of those reports, starting with the OPIS Invoice Checker.
Scalable Yet Mighty: Get to Know the OPIS Invoice Checker
If you need to spot check rack prices only periodically and don't have the need (or the budget) for a long-term subscription, the OPIS Invoice Checker gives you the accountability you need.
You can pull a single price point for as little as $15. In the screenshot below you can see the results of a sample query in this self-service, online tool.
Need more frequent information on wholesale gasoline and diesel prices? Look no further than OPIS rack price reports. OPIS wholesale numbers are what the downstream fuel industry uses to set supply contracts.
How do rack prices work? Check out this blog.
Let's take a walk through a typical U.S. rack price report. There are a few options for your report type, which you can read about here.
The upper left corner of each section contains the city or metro area covered by the report.
We freeze prices at key times of day so buyers and sellers can index transactions to our prices at fixed points in time. Most of our customers receive their reports at 10 a.m. Eastern time (contract), before 6 p.m. ET (closing) or about 11:59 p.m. ET (calendar day).
The delivery type (in this case, contract, indicated by a blue arrow) is located in the top center of each section with the delivery time in the upper far right corner (indicated by a red arrow).
Gasoline: Just below the section headings are column headers containing specific grades or types of gasoline available. These horizontal headers generally reflect prices for regular, midgrade and premium octanes.
RVP: Just below your report’s date stamp, gasoline reports may indicate the Reid vapor pressure of the gasoline products shown. RVP measures gasoline pressure and is mandated to specific levels by state and local governments as an ozone control mechanism.
Diesel Reports: For diesel, or "distillate" as is it is usually labeled, the most common headings are No. 2, No. 1 and Premium. You may also sometimes see "WNT" for winter-spec product and "RD" for red-dyed diesel, which is for use by tax-exempt entities, like school districts, or for off-road use, like farm equipment.
Branded or Unbranded: Gas stations and jobbers associated with a particular gasoline brand MUST buy branded product, which contains the special additives that differentiate the product. Independent retailers and distributors can purchase from whomever they want.
Column two indicates whether the product and price indicated are branded (B) or unbranded (U). A supplier may be listed multiple times if it offers both branded and unbranded product.
Prices: To find a specific price, find where the supplier and the product intersect. Prices are in cents per gallon. You just need to move the decimal point two places to the left to get dollars per gallon.
If a price has a "D" next to it, it means that it will not be included in any OPIS summary data (lows, highs, or averages). This may mean the price has failed one of our quality control mechanisms (learn more about them here) and we don’t want that data to compromise our averages.
If an "O" appears next to a price, it means that the supplier is out of the product indicated. These numbers are also excluded from our averages as they do not represent real, saleable gallons.
Moves: The amount of the price move will be displayed to the right of the price. The far-right column of the report indicates the effective time of the price and move. All moves are in local time. Moves are based on the amount of change since the supplier’s last price update -- NOT the last report. If a supplier hasn’t changed its price from the previous report, the most recent price move will still be displayed. OPIS reports prices immediately, as they become effective, which often reflects an intraday move during the current day.
If your fuel buying needs are robust, you may need to keep an eye on the spot market via the OPIS Spot Ticker, which shows real-time spot prices online (and it's also available as an app). Need a refresher on the spot market? Read this blog on spot market basics.
Price changes in the spot market can tip you off to what you can expect to see at the wholesale rack. Generally, when spot prices rise or fall, wholesale prices follow the trend. If you have flexibility in the way you take delivery of your fuel, you can leverage spot price discovery to manage your supply. And you can use it to take advantage of spot-plus deals.
In this screenshot of the ticker, you'll see some basic features highlighted like NYMEX futures prices and physical cash prices in the spot markets. You can see the basis differentials that are trading or implied in the spot market. And you can see the up or down moves for both prices and differentials.
Add that to your rack report and you have complete fuel price discovery!
So, there you have it! This road map of price discovery will help get you on your way to buying fuel with greater confidence. As always, if you have any questions, our customer service team is just a click or a call away, ready to solve any problems that arise.