Diesel average jumps 8 cents, feds predict lower prices in 2012

| Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average price for diesel will drop 7 cents in 2012. Truckers could welcome the news following an 8-cent increase in price during the past week.

The EIA reported the national average for on-highway diesel at $3.801 for the week ending Monday, Oct. 17.

West Coast, Lower Atlantic and Midwest regions saw increases of 8 to 10 cents for the week, while the average in New England decreased by half a penny per gallon.

On a national scale, fuel prices are averaging 72.8 cents higher than a year ago.

ProMiles reported the daily national average at 3.852 per gallon on Tuesday following a 2 cent increase overnight. Each of the Lower 48 states reported an increase in average price overnight, an indication that fuel will continue trending upward.

But in its latest Short Term Energy Outlook released Oct. 12, the EIA says on-highway diesel will average $3.73 average in calendar year 2012. That’s 7 cents below the current price and 7 cents below the $3.80 that analysts have predicted for the 2011 calendar year.

In addition, the agency says gasoline prices are going to average $3.52 for 2011 but drop to $3.43 in 2012.

Liquid fuel inventories should decrease slightly while fuel consumption will likely inch upward, according to the agency.

Elsewhere in the Outlook, EIA analysts said oil prices continue to face both upward and downward pressure – upward because of unrest in oil-producing nations like Libya, and downward because of lowered expectations of economic growth.

A tight oil supply in world markets could loosen up if Libya were to increase oil output sooner rather than later, analysts stated.

Crude oil was holding steady around $87.67 per barrel Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The trading price was up about $1.29 overnight, and the market has seen a $10 increase during the past two weeks. Oil was as high as $97 back in July.

Following are the weekly average prices for diesel as reported by the EIA:

U.S. – $3.801, up 8 cents
East Coast – $3.815, up 7.4 cents
New England – $3.907, down half a cent
Central Atlantic – $3.922, up 6.2 cents
Lower Atlantic – $3.761, up 8.7 cents
Midwest – $3.754, up 8.3 cents
Gulf Coast – $3.726, up 7.5 cents
Rocky Mountain – $3.885, up 5.7 cents
West Coast – $4.010, up 10 cents
California – $4.053, up 7.6 cents