The U.S. Department of Energy’s projected prices for diesel edged up 2 cents to $3.85 per gallon this year and by 5 cents to $3.78 per gallon next year, according to the agency’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook report.
DOE continues to expect a long-term decline in crude oil prices that will reduce the price of diesel from the $3.92- per-gallon level last year, although diesel recently has topped $4 per gallon. Gasoline prices also are expected to continue a similar long-term decline.
The report also noted that prices for heating oil, made from the same distillates as diesel, have been under pressure this year, particularly in the Northeast, due to cold temperatures. The prices have risen as inventories are drawn down.
The agency maintained its overall assessment of stable markets, noting that spot prices for North Sea Brent crude have averaged about $110 per barrel for eight months from July of last year through February.
West Texas Intermediate crude prices rose $6 per barrel last month to $101 per barrel, driven up by increased refinery operations and inventories that fell to the lowest level in two years, the report said.