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November 28, 2016 5:25 PM, EST
Diesel Average Dips 0.1¢ to $2.420
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The U.S. average retail price of diesel slid 0.1 cent to $2.420 a gallon, according to the Department of Energy, as crude prices reflected the uncertainty global production would be slowed.

The national average price is 0.1 cent less than it was a year ago, when it was $2.421, DOE said after its Nov. 28 survey of fueling stations.

Changes in the average regional diesel prices were mixed. Prices were higher in three regions, unchanged in two and lower in five.

The U.S. regular gasoline average price fell 0.1 cent to $2.154 a gallon, 9.5 cents higher than a year ago, DOE’s Energy Information Administration said.

Regional average prices declined everywhere but the Midwest, where the price rose 2.5 cents a gallon to $2.039.

Meanwhile, crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed Nov. 28 at $47.08 per barrel, compared with $47.49 on Nov. 21.

At one large carrier, switching out one component made an overnight difference in fuel economy.

Fifteen years ago, Bison Transport Inc. converted its entire less-than-truckload and truckload fleet to automated transmissions from manual transmissions, President Rob Penner told Transport Topics.

“The reason we did that back then was fuel. The automated transmission didn’t actually perform better than the best driver, but it raised the floor by a mile and a half per gallon. So we didn’t have anybody doing 5 miles per gallon anymore, and we have been a fully automated fleet from that far back.”

The improved fuel mileage from the conversion “was the equivalent of nearly 15 cents per mile in savings,” said Penner, whose Winnipeg, Manitoba-based carrier operates about 1,600 tractors and has an annual diesel budget of about C$50 million.

“It was pretty straightforward for us. There are very few things we can do to change out cost to that magnitude,” he said.

Bison Transport ranks No. 65 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Meanwhile, with only two days to go before ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries try to finalize the first production decrease in eight years, the foundations for a deal are looking shaky, Bloomberg News reported Nov. 28.

A final round of diplomacy focused on internal divisions over how to share the cuts and on Russian resistance to reducing supply, which already forced the cancellation of crucial talks with non-OPEC suppliers, Bloomberg said.

On Nov. 27, Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, floated for the first time the possibility of leaving Vienna without an agreement, Bloomberg said.