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Major Characteristics

Gasoline (America) or MoGas orpetrol (Commonwealth nations) is a petroleum derived liquid mixture, primarilyused as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It is primarily used as fuel forpassenger cars. It is also used in off-highway utility vans, farm machinery andin other spark ignition engines employed in a variety of service applications.

Gasoline is a complex mixture ofrelatively volatile hydrocarbons, ranging from c4 to c11 that vary widely inchemical & physical properties and are derived from fractional distillationof crude petroleum in oil refineries with a further treatment mainly in termsof improvement of its octane rating. Small quantities of various additives arecommon, for purposes such as tuning engine performance or reducing harmfulexhaust emissions. Some mixtures also contain significant quantities of ethanolas a partial alternative fuel.

Gasoline is made by blendingtogether various refinery streams. The exact ratios depend on the oil refinerythat makes the gasoline, the crude oil feed used by the refinery and the gradeof gasoline, in particular the octane rating. Many countries have set tightstandards for grades of gasoline. Heavier crude oil gives less gasoline as thesulphur content in them is high and gasoline contains very little sulphur.

Gasoline is derived from crudeoil and its price shows high correlation with crude oil prices. The correlationin 2008 is estimated to have been around 93%.

Refineries across the world areinterested in Crude-Gasoline crack. This is the margin that they earn when theyrefine crude oil into various products, especially gasoline. Worldwide crackmargins vary from US $ 4 - 14 a barrel. Thus, to lock in their margins,refineries in developed countries take positions in both crude oil and gasolinederivative contracts at the same time.

Global Scenario

The world demand for gasoline isestimated to be an average 20 million barrels a day. The United States is thelargest consumer with an average consumption of around 8.9 million barrels aday in 2008, accounting for over 40% of global consumption. This was over 9million barrels a day in 2007.

Global gasoline production isreported to be above 6550 million barrels in 2007. Globally, gasolineproduction accounted for above 23% of the total production of refinery productsin 2007.

US is the largest refiner ofcrude oil holding 20% of the total world refining capacity of 87,700 kilobarrels per calendar day, followed by China (8.9%), Former Soviet Union (8.8%),Japan (5.3%) and India (4.1%).

However, the production ofgasoline in any country depends on the type of economy it follows. For eg,while US has adopted a gasoline based economy, India is largely a diesel basedeconomy, leading to more production and consumption of gasoline in US andHigh-Speed Diesel (HSD) in India. Moreover, the light sweet crude oil used byUS, yields more gasoline.

World Gasoline Markets

Chicago Mercantile Exchange(CME), which has acquired New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), runs the worldsmost liquid gasoline derivative market. Other derivative exchanges offeringthis product are TOCOM, Japan and MCX, India.

Indian Scenario

The growth of the Indian economy,rising incomes of the countrys middle class has lead to rising numbers ofpassenger cars and consequently increasing demand for gasoline in India sincethe recent 10-15 years. Indias consumption of gasoline in 2008-09 is estimatedto be 82.5 million barrels in 2008-09, which is sharply up by 36% from 2004-05consumption of 60.5 million barrels.

Indias production of gasoline hasshown a sharp improvement in the previous two decades, aided by the setting upof new refineries and increased capacity utilization. The production ofgasoline has increased from 26 million barrels in 1990-91 to 117.4 millionbarrels in 2008-09, marking a 350% increase.

Gasoline exports from India havegrown substantially, with it jumping from 17.7 million barrels in 2005-06 to39.1 million barrels in 2008-09, representing an increase of 120%, exposing theexporting Indian refineries to the huge volatility in global prices.

The majority of refineries inIndia are state-owned and follow a steady pricing policy as per Governmentregulations. The major refiners include Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL),Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL)and Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The RIL being a private player exports mostof its production of petroleum products

Market Moving Factors

Globally, gasoline prices arehighly correlated with crude oil prices as cost of production of gasolineincludes the cost of crude oil used plus cost of refining, distribution, taxesand includes measures for environmental protection. It is estimated that crudeoil alone makes up for 70% of the price of gasoline.

Thus, all factors influencingcrude oil prices have a profound influence on gasoline prices too. Thesefactors include, supply-demand, global economic scenario, natural disasters,currency fluctuations, geo-political tensions, interest rates, prices of otherassets, commodities etc.

The supply-demand scenario in US,is very important as US is the largest consumer, accounting for around 40% ofglobal consumption.

Seasonal fluctuation is seen inglobal gasoline prices, as increased driving and air travel is seen during thesummer season in temperate, developed countries. This increased demand supportsa price rise, provided other factors remain constant. However, usuallyrefineries are well stocked to meet this increased demand.

Storage also plays an importantrole in trade patterns and prices. When inventories are full, this readyavailability of large supplies drives down the price. In contrast, when stocksare relatively low, prices tend to increase.

Disruptions in production due toextreme weather or other unforeseen events can lead to prices picking up.


1 US Barrel = 42 US Gallons

1 US Barrel = 158.98 litres

1 MT = 7.33 barrels

Note: Measurement of barrels pertonne vary from origin to origin

Source :-

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