OPIS customer service super sleuth Regina Flake barely had time to put down her coffee when the call came in early Saturday morning....
Customer X: Oh, Regina, thank goodness you’re there. You’ve gotta help me… My OPIS gas prices are wrong!
Regina: Slow down ma’am. I’m happy to help. What seems to be the trouble?
Customer X: I must have gotten a bogus OPIS closing file yesterday evening. My boss says our supplier, FuelStar, dropped the price of gasoline 2cts at our rack. But, I don’t see that price change in my OPIS. My boss is freaking out that we’re going to be overcharged and lose money!
Reality check! OK, this scenario is slightly fictitious.
But, most importantly, this is truly a question our team fields regularly at OPIS. Understanding what happens next may save you major headaches when you read your rack report.
Let’s see how “Regina” handles it…
Regina: Let me just check….. Oh, yes, I see! FuelStar did drop the price of gasoline at your rack. But, they made their change at 6pm last night.
The OPIS Closing Benchmark report you get reflects price changes that happen throughout the day up until 4:59pm. That’s when we “freeze” those prices. So, the price you see in your report was totally correct and effective at the time your report delivered. If your supplier doesn’t make any additional price changes today, you should see that 2ct decrease reflected tonight.
Customer X: So, do I have any options if I want to see overnight price changes?
Regina: Absolutely! In addition to the Closing Benchmark report you get, OPIS offers rack price report deliveries after 6pm. We also offer reports that freeze at 11:59pm, called a “Calendar Day Benchmark.” Or you can get a "Contract Benchmark" file at 10am in the morning.
Thanks, “Regina.” OK…Now back to full reality!
Understanding How Your Rack Report Timestamp Impacts Your Gas & Diesel Prices
As we said, the scenario above is one that plays out frequently on the OPIS customer service desk.
OPIS does everything it its power to ensure the gasoline and diesel prices we publish are correct. But, it’s important to understand the delivery time of the report you get and how it relates to your data. Wholesale rack prices can change at any time during the day, but many suppliers update their prices at 6pm. So, it’s also critical to make sure you are getting the right-timed report for your wholesale business.
Understanding your report’s time distinctions ultimately make it easy for customers to ensure they are paying the correct price:
- They know what time they get their reports and when prices are effective.
- They can set clearer contracts. Using a term like “OPIS Contract Rack Report” in your contract, as opposed to just saying “prices in morning," ensures data clarity and full price transparency .
Let’s Get Visual with Gas & Diesel Price Reports
Here is an actual "Closing Benchmark File" for rack gasoline in Baltimore from January 29, 2019.
You can see price moves from earlier that same day. There are also price moves dated the day before.
That does not mean these prices are old or wrong!
The move date reflects the last time a supplier changed their price as of the time that this report’s data was frozen (in this case 4:59pm).
If a supplier indicates to you that they are planning a price move, that does not necessarily mean they have made it effective to OPIS. The move will not be reflected in our report until they do.
If you notice that your supplier seems to always update prices at 6pm or later, you may want to talk to OPIS customer service about getting set up with a different report timing.
Options for Getting Rack Fuel Prices Later than 5pm
So, what are your options if you want to capture fuel price moves that happen later in the day or overnight?
Below is a “Post-6pm Moves” file. This is from the same date and location as the example above. But this report publishes at 7:15 pm. OPIS offers this report due to the many price moves that tend to occur at 6pm -- and you can see how many suppliers have a 1/29 18:00 (6pm) move date and time captured here.
Are There Other Benchmark Rack Price Report Options?
For sure! There is also a Calendar Day File and a Contract File.
This is a "Calendar Day Benchmark File" from that same day, same location. Prices for this report freeze at 11:59pm.
This is a 10am delivering "Contract Benchmark File." Same rack location. But, since it delivers the next day, 1/30, this report captures overnight and early morning supplier moves with prices freezing at 10am.
- Bottom line #1: You have TONS of options when it comes to OPIS rack report timings.
- Bottom Line #2: OPIS customer service is your one-stop resource if you feel as though you need to explore those options.
***And, final tip: If you DO end up making changes in your report delivery, take a look at your contract with your supplier. If you, for example, go from a 5pm-delivering closing file to a 10am next-day delivering contract file, you may need to tweak the language in the agreement you have with your supplier! Make sure you cover yourself!
Want more tips on developing accurate contracts with your wholesale fuel supplier? Check out our self-paced online course, Basics of Fuel Buying.