How to Use Gas Predictor!

What it Means

Notice that our main page only presents the answer to one question: Should you buy gas today, or would you save money by holding off a day or two?

NOTICE! We publish our predictions around the end of the business day in the Eastern Time Zone. Before about 5:00 PM Eastern, you are seeing the answer we provided yesterday. So, when the Web site says "tomorrow," it is usually referring to TODAY! What you see here is the answer to the "tomorrow" question that we published yesterday. Each prediction page includes the date and time that it was posted to the Web, so you can verify what you're looking at.

If you're low on gas, but you still have enough to last another day or two, it would be nice to know whether gas prices are going to go up, down, or stay the same. If gas prices are likely to go up, you'd be better off buying gas today. If gas prices are going to go down, you should wait until tomorrow or the next day. If they are likely to stay the same, well, it just doesn't matter.

That's what GasPredictor.com can do for you. Each workday evening, log on for our predictions to help you decide whether to buy gas tonight, or to wait until tomorrow. In the case of a weekend or holiday, our predictions usually tell you what to expect through the weekend and into the morning of the next workday.

Notice that GasPredictor.com predicts the changes in the price of gas for both tomorrow and for the next couple of days. We only measure our success or failure by looking at the prediction for tomorrow. That means up until mid-morning the next business day, which is when we check the accuracy of our prediction. The idea is that if our prediction says you should not buy gas tomorrow, but then conditions change, the next day's prediction will tell you that today is a good day to buy gas after all.

For instance, suppose the prediction we publish on Monday says prices will remain steady on Tuesday then decline on Wednesday. We will suggest that you do not buy gas on Tuesday, but wait until Wednesday if you can. Then, suppose that conditions change, and the prediction we publish on Tuesday says that prices will go up on Wednesday and you should buy gas on Tuesday. You still come out ahead if you buy gas on Tuesday, because you avoided Wednesday's price increases. And although we revised our 2-day prediction, we only measure our successful prediction based on the 1-day prediction. The idea is that if you check our predictions every day, you will have the opportunity to benefit from such changes in what had been our 2-day prediction.

Our Gas Price Predictor is designed for the contiguous United States. Prices in Alaska and Hawaii and in other countries are subject to vagaries and complexities that our algorithm does not take into account.

Our forecasting algorithm does not see beyond a few days. And of course, unforeseen political and economic events could disrupt our calculations even within a day or two.

Second Cheapest Prices

What we are predicting is the price of gas at the second cheapest gas stations in each locality. We believe that this is a more accurate representation of what you really pay for gasoline than the "average" price of gas.

When we say "second cheapest," that's not precisely correct, either. We begin with a list of recent retail gasoline sales reported by a subscription service, which is already filtered a bit, then apply some of our own filters to arrive at the price we use in our predictions. It may sound like cheating, if we pick and choose what price we want to use, but we apply the selection criteria the same way every day. Then the price we used as the basis of today's predictions and the price we use the next day to determine whether that prediction was correct are always selected in the same way.

Prices excluded are:

  • Cash prices (automatically excluded by our source data).
  • Loyalty card prices.
  • Prices requiring additional purchases, such as a car wash.
  • Prices that are more than 6% cheaper than the next cheapest price unless more than five retailers in the market are selling at that price, in which case we will use that price as if it were the "second cheapest."

That last point may require examples.

  1. If one to five retailers are selling gas at $1.899 per gallon, one is selling at $2.059 per gallon, and one is selling at $2.079, the price we will report and use is $2.079.
  2. If six or more retailers are selling gas at $1.899 per gallon, one is selling at $2.059 per gallon, and one is selling at $2.079, the price we will report and use is $1.899.
  3. If one to five retailers are selling gas at $1.939 per gallon, one is selling at $2.059 per gallon, and one is selling at $2.079, the price we will report and use is $2.059. We did not exclude the $1.939 price, because it is within 6% of the next cheapest $2.059, but since fewer than six retailers are at $1.939, we use the next cheapest price.

Bear in mind, too, that we are predicting tomorrow's retail prices. We do not try to predict what will happen in the commodities markets, even one day in advance. We use that information, and we report that information, but we do not predict it.

We absolutely can not predict what the price of gasoline will do in the next six months. (If we could, we wouldn't be telling you about it, we'd just be quietly getting rich.)

So, if you're getting a little low on gas, use our predictions to help you decide whether to fill up today or tomorrow. If you're hoping to make any serious investment decisions based on our predictions, we'll accept a cut if it works out for you, but we are not responsible for any losses. Even our best prediction tools are just not that reliable.

Disclaimer: This Web site, and all of its predictions and prediction devices, are for educational and entertainment purposes only. We will not be responsible for incorrect predictions, or for any damage or losses you may incur as a result of using these predictions. While we believe that our prediction algorithm works, you must accept responsibility for your choice to use this information.




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