Horizontal and vertical transmissions in the US oil supply chain
Oil prices, inventory levels, and utilization rates are influenced by changes that are transmitted horizontally and/or vertically through the energy supply chain. We define horizontal transmissions as changes that are generated by linkages among fuels at a similar stage of processing while vertical transmissions are changes that are generated by upstream/downstream linkages in the oil supply chain. Here, we investigate vertical and horizontal transmissions by estimating vector error correction models (VECMs) that represent relationships among the price of crude oil, US refinery utilization rates, US stocks of crude oil, US stocks of motor gasoline, the US price of motor gasoline, and the US price of a substitute fuel, natural gas. Causal relationships estimated from both weekly and quarterly observations indicate that the price of crude oil is an important gateway for disturbances to the oil supply chain. Impulse response functions indicate that disturbances to crude oil prices ripple down the oil supply chain and affect inventory behaviors, refinery utilization rates, and the price of motor gasoline, and are transmitted laterally to the natural gas market.
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