The U.S. average retail price of diesel increased 6 cents to $2.480 a gallon, according to the Department of Energy.
The national average price is 10.1 cents more than it was a year ago, DOE said after its Dec. 5 survey of fueling stations.
The average diesel price rose in every region, increasing 7.5 cents in the Midwest and 7.1 cents in the Gulf Coast. The smallest rise was in the Rocky Mountain region, where the price of trucking’s main fuel increased 0.7 cent to $2.457 a gallon.
The U.S. regular gasoline average price rose 5.4 cents to $2.208 a gallon, 15.5 cents higher than a year ago, DOE’s Energy Information Administration said.
Regional average prices declined everywhere but the Rocky Mountain region, the West Coast and the West Coast less California.
Even as diesel prices are more than 10 cents lower than a year ago, oil analysts are expecting that the rise of electric vehicles, such as a recently revealed Class 8 hydrogen-electric truck by Nikola Motor Co., could erode as much as 10% of global gasoline demand by 2035.
While battery-powered cars and trucks represent less than 1% of total vehicle sales, they are expected to take off after 2025 as governments move to tackle pollution and costs fall, according to the oil industry consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd., Bloomberg News reported.
By 2035, so-called EVs may remove 1 million to 2 million barrels a day of oil demand from the market — in the range of the production cut OPEC and its allies agreed to in order to end a three-year crude surplus, according to Bloomberg.
“Anything that reduces the demand for transportation has an impact on the oil market,” Alan Gelder, vice president of refining, chemicals and oils markets at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview in London. “The question is how big is it going to be and what’s the timeframe.”
Wood Mackenzie’s view echoes the International Energy Agency, which forecast in November that global gasoline demand has all but peaked because of more efficient cars and the spread of EVs, Bloomberg reported. The agency expects total oil demand to keep growing for decades, driven by shipping, trucking, aviation and petrochemical industries.
Nikola has said deliveries of its Nikola One tractor will begin in 2020, and the company has moved forward with plans to design a day cab, the Nikola Two.
“This could be the game changer we’re all looking for,” said Max Fuller, CEO of U.S. Express Enterprises, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “This truck can go 1,200 miles. Electric trucks today are 120 miles.”
U.S. Xpress ranks No. 19 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada.