The U.S. retail diesel average price fell for the 13th consecutive week, dropping 2.3 cents a gallon to $2.008 and setting a record low in the era of ultra-low-sulfur fuel, the Department of Energy reported.
DOE began reporting ULSD prices Feb. 5, 2007, when the price was $2.463. The previous low was March 16, 2009, when the price was $2.023.
Trucking’s main fuel is 82.7 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago, DOE said after its Feb. 8 survey of fueling stations.
Diesel dropped in all regions last week, with prices falling below $1.90 in the Gulf Coast. They 2.1 cents to $1.896 in that region.
The Rocky Mountain area at $1.914, the Midwest at $1.929 and the Lower Atlantic at $1.959 checked in under $2 a gallon.
The average retail price of gasoline fell to $1.759 down 6.3 cents from Feb. 1 and 43.2 cents from a year ago when it was $2.191.
Also on Feb. 8, crude oil futures closed on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $30.12 down $1.50 from $31.62 on Feb. 1.
EIA Analyst Hannah Breul told Transport Topics, “In terms of what is driving diesel prices down, I’d say it’s in large part due to lower crude oil prices. And the fact that we have had a warmer winter than normal means that the incremental distillate use for heating buildings of all kinds has been a lot less. We are not getting the seasonal uptick you sometime see at this time of year.”
Heating oil and diesel fuel largely are drawn from the same base stock, she said.
Also, Breul said U.S. refineries have generated a lot of product and inventory. “That can put some downward pressure on prices, too.”
Refinery runs have been fairly high in Europe, as well, she added. “So this [downward pressure on prices] isn’t just a U.S. thing. The markets are all connected.”