Diesel Climbs 2.8¢ to $3.069 Per Gallon

Diesel being pumped
Regional average diesel prices rose in all areas except the Rocky Mountain region. (Thinkstock)

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The U.S. average retail price of a gallon of diesel rose 2.8 cents to $3.069 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Dec. 30.

The price of a barrel of oil rose by about $1 per barrel compared with the week of Dec. 23.

Trucking’s main fuel costs 2.1 cents more than it did a year ago, when it was $3.048 a gallon, according to DOE.

Average diesel prices rose in all areas except the Rocky Mountain region, where it fell 1.4 cents to $3.113.

The U.S. average price of a gallon of gasoline rose 3.9 cents to $2.571 a gallon, according to DOE’s Energy Information Administration.

The price is 30.5 cents higher than it was a year ago when it was $2.266.

Average gasoline prices rose in six regions and fell in three.

Gasoline rose the most, 6.7 cents per gallon, in the Gulf Coast region. It fell the most, 2.7 cents, in the Rocky Mountain region.

Meanwhile, diesel prices were quite consistent in 2019. The average price began the year at $3.013, peaked at $3.171 on May 6, then slid to remain around $3 per gallon for the rest of the year.

The new year, however, put in place an International Maritime Organization rule intended to reduce sulfur-related emissions from oceangoing vessels by requiring scrubbers for existing bunker fuel or switching to very low-sulfur diesel fuel.

As the Jan. 1 deadline approached, speculation mounted that the switch could lift the price trucking pays for ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

That concern now appears overstated, according to one travel plaza executive.

“TravelCenters of America supports initiatives designed to create cleaner environments. The anticipation of the IMO regulation change has allowed the market to adapt, not impacting our pricing or supply,” Matthew Lachut, TA’s vice president of marketing, told Transport Topics on Dec. 31. “We don’t expect to see a great amount of industry disruption in the foreseeable future.”

TA, headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, operates in 43 states and Canada, principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center brands.

The United States continues to import primarily heavy high-sulfur crude oils that most refineries are configured to process, and more than 60% of U.S. crude oil imports come from Canada and Mexico, EIA reported.

“The U.S. refining sector is the most complex and technologically advanced refining sector in the world, having invested nearly $100 billion over the past decade to increase processing capacity, improve operating efficiency, increase crude slate flexibility [the mix of crude grades], and produce cleaner fuels, including low-sulfur fuels like those needed for IMO 2020,” Derrick Morgan, senior vice president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, said in recent congressional testimony.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $61.54 on Dec. 30 compared with $60.52 per barrel Dec. 23.

Oil is on track for the biggest yearly gain since 2016 as declining U.S. crude stockpiles eased oversupply concerns. Heightened geopolitical risk has given the commodity a boost, according to Bloomberg News.

WTI closed at $46.54 on Jan. 2, 2019, and in early trading Jan. 2, 2020, was at $61.20 — a 31% surge.

Meantime, the advance toward greater electrification of commercial vehicles continues.

Ryder System Inc. announced a partnership Jan. 2 with In-Charge Energy Inc., a provider of electric vehicle infrastructure, and ABB, a leader in electrification technology, to provide nationwide turnkey energy and electric vehicle-charging infrastructure as a service to Ryder customers.

This will allow them to safely and predictably expand their EV footprint, giving Ryder customers access to the infrastructure necessary to run these operations effectively, according to the Miami-based company.

“We are proud to be the first in our industry to offer this scalable, customizable, and innovative charging and fleet management [option],” Rich Mohr, Ryder’s chief technology officer for fleet management solutions, said in a release.

The partnership also will provide guidance around entry into the EV market.

Ryder Supply Chain Solutions ranks No. 11 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire companies in North America.


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