December 27, 2018 1:15 PM, EST

Average Price of Diesel Drops 4.4¢ to $3.077 a Gallon

A tanker fills underground storage tanks with fuelMatthew Staver/Bloomberg News

The U.S. average retail price of diesel dropped 4.4 cents to $3.077 a gallon, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported, as crude oil prices lingered below $50 per barrel.

The data was released Dec. 26 for the week concluding Dec. 24.

The drop in diesel marked the 10th consecutive weekly decline in the cost of trucking’s main fuel. The price has fallen 31.7 cents during that period.

Despite the falling price, diesel costs 17.4 cents a gallon more than it did a year ago, when the price was $2.903, EIA reported.

Average diesel prices fell in all regions of the country, led by the Midwest region, where per-gallon costs dropped 7.4 cents to $2.944.

The smallest drop was 1.6 cents a gallon in the West Coast region.

The average national gasoline price fell 4.8 cents to $2.321 per gallon. The sharpest regional drop was in the Rocky Mountain region, where prices fell by 9 cents, according to EIA. The national average price is 15.1 cents lower than one year ago.

The price drops came as crude oil took a turn lower along with U.S. stocks.

Futures in New York fell as much as 2.8% on Dec. 27. The S&P 500 dropped more than 2%, making its way toward a bear market. Traders have been on edge recently amid giant swings in both equities and oil. On Dec. 24, the U.S. benchmark crude fell more than 7% before jumping more than 10% on Dec. 26.

“What’s going on with the overall economy and because GDP is so correlated with oil demand, that’s really what’s driving the bus lately,” said Stewart Glickman, an energy equity analyst at CFRA Research. “Are we driving into a recession or are things going to stabilize and be a somewhat steady state?”

U.S. benchmark crude is on track for the largest quarterly decline since 2014 amid fears that the ongoing trade war between the United States and China will hit demand. At the same time, some investors doubt that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ deal to limit output with its allies will help tighten supplies. Producers aim to publish a statement in January on the implementation of the agreement, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery dropped 94 cents to $45.28 a barrel at mid-morning Dec. 27 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Total volume traded on Dec. 27 was about 9% below the 100-day average.

A measure of oil market volatility jumped to the highest level in more than a month.

Brent for February settlement slid $1.14 to $53.33 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at an $8.03 premium to WTI.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude inventories probably fell 3 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. If Energy Information Administration data due Dec. 28 shows a similar move, it will be the fourth consecutive weekly decline in U.S. crude stockpiles.