December 23, 2019 4:30 PM, EST

Diesel Dips 0.5¢ to $3.041 Per Gallon; Oil Price Creeps Higher

DieselTrucking’s main fuel costs 3.6 cents less than it did a year ago, according to the Department of Energy. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News)

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The U.S. average retail price of diesel dipped 0.5 cent to $3.041 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Dec. 23.

The price of a barrel of oil barely moved higher compared with a week earlier.

Trucking’s main fuel costs 3.6 cents less than it did a year ago, when it was $3.077 a gallon, according to DOE.

Regional average diesel prices fell in seven areas, were flat in the Gulf Coast and rose in New England and the Central Atlantic.

The U.S. average price of a gallon of gasoline fell 0.4 cent to $2.532 a gallon, according to DOE’s Energy Information Administration.

The price is 21.1 cents higher than it was a year ago. 

Average gasoline prices fell in five regions, were unchanged in the Lower Atlantic and rose in three others. Gasoline fell the most, 4.6 cents per gallon, in the West Coast region. It rose the most, 1.6 cents, in the Central Atlantic.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $60.63 Dec. 23 compared with $60.21 per barrel Dec. 16.

Oil is having one of its best months of the year after the U.S. and China struck a preliminary trade pact, and as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies agreed to deepen output cuts in the face of growing supplies from their rivals, Bloomberg News reported.

In the meantime, the weekly U.S. oil rig count was 813 during the week of Dec. 20, 14 rigs more than the week before and 267 less than a year earlier, oil field services firm Baker Hughes Inc. reported.

Houston-based Baker Hughes, a GE company, ranks No. 73 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

In related news, TravelCenters of America Inc. announced the U.S. government biodiesel tax credit was retroactively reinstated for 2018 and 2019 in congressional legislation passed Dec. 20. TA expects to recognize about $72 million related to the biodiesel tax credit reinstatement for 2018 and 2019 in its fourth-quarter 2019 financial statements as a reduction to TA’s fuel cost of goods sold. In addition to reinstating the federal biodiesel tax credit for 2018 and 2019, the legislation extended the tax credit through 2022.

Based in Westlake, Ohio, TA has more than 21,000 employees in over 260 locations in 44 states and Canada, operating principally under the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express brands. It is the only publicly traded truck stop chain.

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