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The national average price of a gallon of diesel dipped half a cent to $3.124 a gallon, according to weekly data released by the Energy Information Administration on April 19.
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, noted the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a factor.
“Remember that GDP dropped by 3.5% last year due to COVID,” Schaeffer told Transport Topics. “So how far and fast that comes back is in flux.”
Schaeffer added that personal travel is increasing, driving up gasoline consumption. Too, freight volumes are creating a greater demand for diesel. That means there could be a supply crunch with production still not back to where it was pre-pandemic.
- The price of diesel has declined for four consecutive weeks totaling 7 cents. Before March 29, trucking’s main fuel had increased 82.2 cents over 20 consecutive weeks of increases.
- A gallon of diesel costs 64.4 cents more a gallon than it did at this time in 2020.
- Diesel’s cost dropped in five of the 10 regions surveyed by EIA, rose in three and stayed flat in two. The biggest rise, two-tenths of a cent, was recorded in the Central Atlantic and California. The largest decline was 2.4 cents in the Rocky Mountain region.
- The national average price of gasoline went up six-tenths of a cent to $2.855 a gallon, which is $1.043 more than a year ago.
“Crude is around $65 [a barrel] with OPEC holding on to production limits for now through May,” Schaeffer said. “I think it is so that will help moderate further price increases. And remember that far more than gasoline, diesel and distillate is more global fuel market-influenced.”
Schaeffer added that as other countries see coronavirus cases and reopenings in flux, that, too, will boost or relieve pressure on distillate.
“The national average for diesel is holding steady over last week,” Schaeffer said. “Of the 10 regional markets EIA track, diesel fuel prices were lower in five markets and unchanged in two compared to last week. But overall, every region is higher over last year in every market but that is to be expected with the economic recovery building.”
U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices
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