June 28, 2022 11:05 AM, EDT

EIA Delays Fuel Price Release for Second Week

DieselDaniel Acker/Bloomberg News

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration has delayed its weekly release of national diesel prices for the second week in a row June 27.

EIA usually releases national diesel and gasoline prices on a weekly basis. But the diesel report has been postponed to an undetermined date. The agency is instead in the process of restoring its system in response to a voltage irregularity originally discovered June 17.

“This issue prevented us from processing and releasing several reports last week, and unfortunately, it continues to affect our ability to release data this week,” EIA said in a release June 27. “We will continue to provide timely updates as we bring our systems back online and will share a schedule for our product releases as soon as possible.”

On June 29, EIA did release data for gasoline prices over the last two weeks, showing the national average through June 27 at $4.872 a gallon. It was at $5.006 on June 13, fell by 4.4 cents June 20 to $4.962, then fell by 9 cents to its current level this week. But diesel prices have not been released since June 13.

EIA noted that the voltage irregularity caused hardware failures on two of its main processing servers. It has replaced the affected hardware and is in the process of transferring data from backup systems to new servers.

“We have been communicating with EIA and administration staff about the impact that changes and delays to the update can cause to the trucking industry and those we serve,” American Trucking Associations said in an alert email. “We are not yet sure of the technical cause of the delay but have been assured by senior officials at EIA that they are working diligently to get it resolved.”

EIA has been able to collect data throughout the outage and subsequent restoration. The agency does still plan to release reports that were scheduled for publication during the delay. The final step once that data transfer is complete will be to perform quality checks to ensure data integrity before releasing it.

The Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update wasn’t the only scheduled report that has been delayed since problems began. The Weekly Petroleum Status report among others also have been affected by the network issues, and will be released June 29. All others have been postponed to an undetermined date.

The network problems come at a time of rapidly growing fuel prices. The most recent numbers show average diesel prices were at $5.718 a gallon nationwide for June 13. That is $2.432 a gallon more than the year prior. California had the highest diesel prices of the 10 regions the agency surveys at $6.887 a gallon. No region was below $5 a gallon.

President Joe Biden has taken action to stem the steadily increasing fuel prices, including releasing millions of barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and putting pressure on refiners to boost output. He most recently called for a three-month suspension of the federal gas tax, a move that needs congressional approval.

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