January 25, 2021 5:45 PM, EST

Diesel Up 2¢ in 12th Consecutive Increase

Trucks near Mobil gas stationDaniel Acker/Bloomberg News

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

The national average price of diesel rose by 2 cents to $2.716 a gallon, the Energy Information Administration reported Jan. 25.

Even with the 12th consecutive weekly increase, diesel remains 29.4 cents less expensive than a year ago.

Meanwhile, gasoline increased by 1.3 cents a gallon nationally to $2.392 and sits 11.4 cents per gallon cheaper than a year ago.

Diesel, trucking’s main fuel, increased in all 10 regions. The largest gain came in the California region, where diesel jumped 2.9 cents a gallon to $3.477 a gallon. The smallest increase was in the Rocky Mountain region, where diesel inched up a penny to $2.613 a gallon. Diesel in that region remains 37.1 cents less expensive than a year ago.

Diesel was least expensive along the Gulf Coast, home to much of the nation’s oil production and refining capacity. The price of the fuel there rose 2.2 cents to $2.483 a gallon. Despite the increase, diesel there costs 29 cents less than at this time in 2020.

“The first week of the year, it was kind of a sprint,” Tom Kloza, founder and global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information, told Transport Topics. “I would say we’ve been doing the cha-cha since then, although slowly and today we’re up to the highest wholesale prices of the year. But it’s been a pretty slow pace. Not exactly an exciting market since that first five or six business days.”

Kloza added there are still some big challenges remaining. He also noted that the EIA has been tracking poor demand for gasoline, but he is skeptical of that.

“That’s not something that we’re seeing in our surveys, which reflect like 40,000 stations,” Kloza said. “You’ll see some people out there who are talking about $3 a gallon of gasoline for the U.S. We think it’s going to be a cheap year. Clearly not as cheap as last year because there will be a post-pandemic period in 2021. Diesel is pretty quiet. Diesel has advanced but no wild spikes.”

Kloza also isn’t too concerned yet over the incoming polar vortex. Winter storms can have an impact on the fuel markets because of heating and sites going offline because of disruptions. But for the most part he hasn’t seen storms clustering too much up north.

“It’s a modest outlook for both,” Kloza said. “I think this will be a more expensive year than last year, but that’s kind of an easy pick. We do not believe it’s going to get to some of the levels that a lot of speculators are talking about. That goes for whether you’re talking about crude oil, whether you’re talking about diesel or whether you’re talking about gasoline.”

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: