Diesel Sheds 6.2¢ to $4.185
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The national average price of diesel continued its descent, sliding 6.2 cents to $4.185 a gallon in its seventh straight decline, according to Energy Information Administration data released March 20.
Diesel’s price has shed 43.7 cents on average since a gallon cost $4.622 on Jan. 30.
The average price of diesel has fallen in eight of EIA’s 11 reporting periods this year.
A gallon of trucking’s main fuel now costs 94.9 cents less on average than it did at this time in 2022.
The average cost of diesel dropped in all 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey, from a high of 8.1 cents in the Rocky Mountain area to a low of 2.3 cents in the West Coast less California.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline fell 3.4 cents to $3.422. That marks an 81.7-cent decrease from a year ago.
U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices
Amid these declines, four Midwestern governors are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to reauthorize an emergency waiver to give drivers the option to use a lower-cost E15 ethanol-gasoline blend during this summer’s busy driving season.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a letter sent March 21 was asked to authorize an emergency waiver similar to one approved last summer for use of the fuel, a move intended to help drivers cope with higher pump prices.
The fuel at the center of the request, E15, is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline approved by EPA for use in 2001 and newer model-year passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks, but disallowed in other vehicle types such as motorcycles and vehicles with heavy-duty engines (transit buses and delivery trucks).
The governors seeking the waiver are Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Jim Pillen of Nebraska and Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
“Continued availability of E15 throughout the summer of 2022 extended fuel supplies, helped avert potential shortages, and saved Americans at least $57 million in fuel costs,” they said in the letter. “Drivers choosing E15 saved $0.23 per gallon on average last summer, equating to $3-5 in savings per fill-up.”
The governors declared that conditions remain challenging heading into this summer, with tight fuel supplies creating a greater risk for market disruption. They stressed that consumers, fuel retailers, ethanol producers and farmers need certainty, which an emergency waiver would provide.
“U.S. inventories of crude oil and petroleum products recently hit a 19-year low, and nationwide gasoline stocks are 3% lower than a year ago,” the governors noted. “Gasoline futures prices are up roughly 15% in just the last two weeks; and with a larger-than-usual amount of refining capacity offline for maintenance, supplies and prices could experience greater pressure as summer approaches.”
These governors joined four others in an April 2002 petition that asked EPA to permit year-round sales of E15 without restriction. A similar request was submitted in 2021 after a D.C. Circuit court overturned a 2019 EPA regulation that facilitated year-round sales of E15. EPA has indicated it will approve the April 2022 request, but has proposed delaying implementation until 2024. “We are disappointed with EPA’s delayed response to states,” Minnesota farmer and National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag said during a March 21 virtual EPA hearing. “Governors submitted their initial request a year ago, allowing sufficient time for EPA to respond and implement for 2023.”
The federal Clean Air Act gives governors the specific authority to make this formal request.
In February, U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, led a bipartisan group urging President Joe Biden to permit year-round sale of E15 fuel in 2023 to reduce U.S. dependence on overseas energy supplies in favor of American agriculture as an energy source. Other backers of this request were senators from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.
The U.S. is the world’s largest corn producer, consumer and exporter.
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