Average price of diesel at the pump dips slightly

By Land Line staff | 8/5/2013

Diesel fuel prices declined for the first time in four weeks according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Prices at the pump are down six-tenths of a cent nationally to a price of $3.909, but remain almost 6 cents higher than the national average a year ago.

The EIA reported declining prices in seven of 10 regions of the country, with the average prices in the Lower Atlantic region coming in 1.6 cents lower. Three regions saw prices increase, including the Rocky Mountain region, where diesel rose 1.8 cents on average.

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

  • U.S. – $3.909, down six-tenths of a cent
  • East Coast – $3.919, down 1.2 cents
  • New England – $4.056, down five-tenths of a cent
  • Central Atlantic – $3.983, down 1 cent
  • Lower Atlantic – $3.845, down 1.6 cents
  • Midwest – $3.878, down eight-tenths of a cent
  • Gulf Coast – $3.841, down four-tenths of a cent
  • Rocky Mountain – $3.931, up 1.8 cents
  • West Coast – $4.054, up two-tenths of a cent
  • California – $4.1.33, up 1.1 cents
  • West Coast less California – $3.961, down nine-tenths of a cent

ProMiles, which surveys 9,400 fuel stops, reported the daily national average at $3.905 cents on Monday, Aug. 5.

Truckers in Connecticut are paying an average price of $4.357 per gallon, according to ProMiles, the highest average price in the lower 48 states. Missouri and South Carolina truck drivers are paying the lowest prices at $3.71 per gallon.

In other energy news, the price of light sweet crude oil remains above $100 per barrel, closing at $106.53 following midday trading Monday according to the New York Mercantile Exchange. Light sweet crude is the type most commonly associated with diesel production.

In Europe, the price of Brent crude was listed at $108.66, according to Bloomberg.

The EIA published a report Monday noting that the price spread benchmarks between domestically produced West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil were as close as $4 on July 30, a difference of roughly $15 per barrel compared to the average Brent-WTI price spread in 2012. The spread was $23 per barrel as recently as February 2013, although the gap has been narrowing since spring. EIA cites new U.S. transport infrastructure and U.S. refineries running at near-record levels for the price increase in WTI.

The strengthening of West Texas Intermediate relative to Brent in the first half of 2013 can be attributed to a number of factors, according to the agency’s report.

“New U.S. crude oil transportation infrastructure came online. Several new crude transportation projects came online in early 2013, including pipelines and crude-by-rail terminals. This new infrastructure helped clear transportation bottlenecks in U.S. Midcontinent, particularly around Cushing, Oklahoma, prompting increases in WTI prices,” the EIA report stated.

“U.S. refineries are running at high levels. Crude runs at refineries have increased steadily since early March to reach some of the highest levels on record. At 16.1 million barrels per day for the week ending July 5, U.S. crude oil runs were the highest for any week since 2007, helping to elevate WTI prices in the spring and summer of 2013. U.S. refineries gain access to domestic light sweet crudes. The expanded crude transportation infrastructure increased refinery access to domestically produced crude oil. Because certain domestic light sweet crudes are of similar quality to Brent, some of this domestic production replaced Brent and Brent-like crude imports at U.S. refineries, putting downward pressure on Brent prices.”

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