The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas slipped about four cents per gallon in the past week, according to the weekly pricing survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but the offset was hardly noticeable in some cities, where the price of gas kept going higher despite the numbers reflected in government pricing surveys. In fact, Shell Oil, which has the contract for the service plazas on Florida’s Turnpike, had some of the highest prices for gasoline in the South Florida Metro Area, including Fort Lauderdale, where some stations were charging more than $3.80 per gallon, even though the average for Gulf Coast and Lower Atlantic states is more than 30¢ per gallon cheaper. Conversely, in New Jersey, where pricing controls are in place, and tied to the consumer-based Lundberg Survey, the current price gas is $3.61 per gallon, which is below the EIA survey price for the East Coast U.S.
The pain at the pump comes into focus when comparing prices to one year ago, when the average cost of a gallon of gas was hovering around the $3.50 range. Right now, the average U.S. gas price is about $3.65 per gallon, although that number is down from last week.
For truckers, the price if diesel kept rising during the past week, with the average per gallon price, nationwide, now at about $3.92. In some states, particularly on the U.S. West Coast, the price is well above $4.00 per gallon. New England states also saw diesel prices keep rising above the 4-dollar mark.
Interestingly, the pricing charts for crude oil and gasoline closely mirror each other, primarily because of the way fuel distributors’ accounting practice, which reflects a “last in, first out” inventory pricing policy. That strategy accounts – no pun intented – for the fact fuel distributors charge more for gasoline the moment crude oil prices begin to spike. The cost of existing inventories, which may have been less expensive, are not typically part of the immediate pricing equation.