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The nationwide average price of diesel fuel increased 2.1 cents per gallon, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data released Nov. 23.
EIA reported that the price of diesel rose to $2.462. Trucking’s main fuel now costs 60.4 cents a gallon less than it did a year ago.
Each of the 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey saw prices go up. The Gulf Coast saw the largest gain — 3 cents to $2.210 a gallon. New England saw the smallest increase for the week at 0.6 cent to $2.558. California, whose price rose 1.3 cents, still has the most expensive diesel at $3.253 a gallon.
Meanwhile, the average price of a gallon of gasoline nationwide decreased, by 0.9 cent, to $2.102, 47.7 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago.
The rise in diesel’s average price follows a 5.8-cent jump the prior week, which was the largest increase of 2020 and more than double the previous high for the year (2.2 cents on June 22).
“Overall, the lower fuel cost, along with improved [miles per gallon], has helped reduce our No. 2 cost category significantly,” Groendyke Transport Chief Financial Officer Mike Barnthouse told Transport Topics. “Stability in the price over the past few months has also been a benefit and lowered the monthly cash outlay.”
One oil analyst said increased prices may be starting to take hold.
“We’re obviously starting to see things trend higher,” Chicago-based analyst Phil Flynn told TT. “I think for the diesel part of it, we’re moving a lot of goods and the economy is doing pretty well, and it’s been a demand situation, really.
“We’ve seen some very strong demand, and now we’re seeing the price of crude oil starting to go up with the anticipation of vaccines in the new year … and so we’re building in some demand expectations going forward.”
Flynn said the upward pressure on fuel prices should continue. He also noted that President-elect Joe Biden has picked former Secretary of State John Kerry to head efforts to combat climate change.
“So one would assume that with the new ‘energy czar’ we should be prepared for an era of higher prices,” Flynn said. “We’re definitely going to see more regulations on diesel and more regulations on oil production in the U.S.”
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