Monthly Archives: October 2013

Gas Prices Plummet, Fall To $3 In Some Areas

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The price of gas went into a near freefall during the past week, with many regions of the United States enjoying some of the lowest prices of the year. The biggest decline in prices came for the Midwest, where the average price of a gallon of unleaded plunged nearly 12¢ per gallon to just under $3.20. Across the Gulf Coast, the price of gas is near the $3.00 mark, the lowest regional average in the country. For the broader, nationwide average, the price of unleaded stands, officially, at about $3.29 per gallon, a drop of nearly 7¢ over last week, according to the latest survey from the Energy Information Administration.

One area where drivers are still experiencing higher gas prices is across the West Coast and California. Gas price averages in some areas are more than 30¢ above the national average, with a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway likely to set you back about $3.61 per gallon. Most Westerners, however, are paying about $3.42 per gallon; drivers across the Rocky Mountain states are divvying up slightly less, at $3.37 per gallon, on average.

The price of shipping goods over land has also become a little less expensive, with the price of diesel fuel dropping about 2¢ per gallon during the pas week. Overall, however, diesel prices are lagging regular gasoline in price declines. The average price of diesel remains in the high $3.80’s, with prices in some areas across the West Coast still well north of $4.00 per gallon, particularly in California.

However, the current price trend is likely to continue, and that will bring further relief to regular drivers as well as truckers, going forward. As the price of crude  oil continues falling, the retail price at the pump will follow suit, typically within a couple of months. However, crude prices have been mixed in recent weeks. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is now well off it’s yearly highs, closing Tuesday at $97.46 for December delivery. However, Brent Light Sweet Crude remained well above the 100-dollar threshhold, primarly because of unreast in Libya this week. That political instability has shaken markets, but it has not caused a run-up in fuel prices like investors witnessed in August, when concerns in both Libya and Syria drove speculation of supply disruptions.

Even so, the EIA has predicted the winter driving season will begin with gas prices at their lowest levels of the year. The EIA is further forecasting gasoline prices to continue falling into 2014, with a brief uptick in January, which is normal for the start of a calendar year.

Gas price projections for 2014

Perhaps the best news for 2014 projections is for the truckers. Diesel prices, which have hovered near or above $4.00 per gallon for the past two years, are projected to finally fall to around $3.76 per gallon, on average, in the coming calendar year. However, those projections are subject to considerable fluctuations due to supply and demand issues, particularly where it concerns refinery capacity and the potential for supply disruptions during the winter.

EIA diesel price projections for 2014


Gas Prices

Download Gas Price Survey

Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

Gas prices across the U.S. slipped upward about a penny per gallon during the recent week, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA report shows the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas is now about $3.36 per gallon, although many areas are enjoying substantially lower prices, particularly the Gulf Coast states, where the price of gas is about $3.12 per gallon.

The slight uptick in prices goes against the longer-term seasonal trend of lower prices, overall, for most U.S. drivers, and it is not expected to continue, according to a report this week in USA Today. That trend is being driven largely by lower futures prices, which fell below $100 per gallon this week.

Futures prices have been slipping considerably in recent weeks, although periodic price disruptions have caused spikes in futures trades, particularly where it concerns North African and Middle Eastern supplies. But the production of oil elsewhere, particularly in the United States, has helped offset those scares. Refineries are also now producing cheaper grades of gasoline for winter driving, which also contributes to the lower cost of fuel.

For drivers nationwide, the price of gas did, in fact, fall in a number of regions during the past week, including the West Coast and California, the Rocky Mountain states and for drivers in the Central and Lower Atlantic states. The cost of fuel dipped by about 4¢ per gallon across the West Coast, and about 3¢ per gallon across the Rocky Mountain states and New England, regions where the price of gasoline is still hoveing closer to $3.50 per gallon.

For truckers and other drivers of diesel-powered vehicles, the price of fuel was basically flat during the past week. The average U.S. price of diesel fuel was flat this past week, with some regions showing a penny per gallon increase in prices and others showing a dip of a penny. Overall, the average price of diesel is about $3.89 per gallon, which is identical to last week.

Year over year prices continue to provide a longer-term view that augurs great news for drivers in the weeks to come. Some analysits believe the price of gasoline is likely to continue falling through the winter months, driving the price of gas to the lowest levels drivers have enjoyed since 2010. However, that prediction could prove folly if a frigid prediction by Farmer’s Almanac proves true.

Farmer’s Alamanac predicts an especially frigid and wet winter season in the coming months, which means heating oil and natural gas supplies are likely to be strained under heavy demand. If home heating oil demand spikes, the prices in related, broader energy markets could come under pressure to increase.


With Government Reopened, We Report New Gas Price Data

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The cost of gas is not likely to be a mystery to anyone who is filling up their tank, but official reports from the Energy Information Agency about gas prices were delayed this week due to the government shutdown. After congressional Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement Wednesday night to reopen govenment, the EIA followed the next day with its weekly gas price survey.

The price of a gallon of regular unleaded was flat across the Midwest and Lower Atlantic states, but prices were mostly down in every other region. The average price of a gallon of gas dropped by about a penny, on a nationwide basis, but there were price declines of as much as 5¢ per gallon, particularly across New England, the Rocky Mountain West and the broader West  Coast region.

The price of diesel fuel also fell during the week, with the average price of a gallon of diesel down by about a penny, although prices in the Midwest and Rockies went down by as much as 3¢ per gallon. Truckers and other diesel car drivers are paying, on average, about $3.88 per gallon.

The year over year gas price comparison continues to show a remarkable trend. In some places, paricularly on the West Coast, the price of a gallon of gas is down by as much as 71¢ compared to this time last year. The average among us is paying about 47¢ per gallon less for fuel this year. Diesel prices are down about 26¢ per gallon, when compared with October 2012 levels.


The EIA sent this email to notify members of the media the regular energy reports, including the weekly gas price survey, would not be published until the government shutdown ended.

This week’s report was delayed as a result of the U.S. government shutdown. While the EIA weekly report was delivered October 7, after the shutdown was already in effect, appropriations for continued operations did not become exhausted until a few days later. The Energy Information Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, sent an email to media October 12 stating, “EIA is closed due to a lapse in appropriations.  EIA will not update its website until the agency reopens.”

The consequence was the Monday evening reports did not get compiled or posted as usual. The EIA’s weekly pricing surveys are usually released during the evening every Monday. typically posts the reports, with analysis, late Monday night or early Tuesday.

This week’s report was delayed until government reopened, which happened October 17.


Government Shutdown May Help Gas Prices, But At What Cost?

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The price of gasoline continued falling across every region of the United States this past week, with the price of a gallon of unleaded fuel falling an average of 6¢ per gallon, on a nationwide level, to $3.37. The price data are included in this week’s survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Various regions had differing levels of price change, which is normal. What is somewhat unusual is the relative equanimity found in those price declines, from one region to the next. Drivers on the West Coast, not including California, found the price of gas down by about 4¢ per gallon, while the largest price declines came in the Midwest, where the cost for fuel dipped by about 7¢.

The drop in prices has been welcome relief for drivers. Most of the gas prices across the U.S. spiked in June and July. Another spate of price increases happened during mid and late August, all against the backdrop of supply problems in Libya and the potential for a military showdown in Syria. The focus of the next potential price disruption is already being seen in Egypt and Libya, this in the wake of a pair of covert operations in Africa over the weekend. U.S. special forces captured a wanted Qaeda leader in Libya, while another warlord was being sought in Somalia.

Oil futures graphic

Gas prices could be chained upward pressures due to geopolitical instability, even though domestic politics should bring down consumer demand and prices at the pump. Graphic:

Continued political unrest in Egypt, combined with the military operation in Libya, have caused futures traders to fear supply disruptions in those areas. Crude oil futures have been going back up in recent days, this after trading lower through most of September.

Sans the geopolitical instability in the Middle East, crude oil might be heading lower, this over fears of lower consumer demand in the face of a lingering government shutdown. Supplies from the North Sea have, at least, kept some price control on crude futures. North Sea crude is expected to reach peak supply levels in November.

Even amid the potential for short-term price increases, the longer-term trend has been one of extraordinary price declines. Overall, U.S. gas prices are down nearly 13% from their levels at this time last year. The average price of a gallon of uneaded, in early October 2012, was about $3.86.

Diesel car drivers and truckers are also paying less, both year over year and week over week. The average price of a gallon of diesel fell by 2¢ in most regions, with prices in the Central Atlantic and West Coast areas down by about 3¢.


Cost To Drive Takes A Dive In September

Download Gas Price Survey

Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The price of a gallon of gasoline fell once again during the past week, with the average U.S.  price falling another 7¢ during the last week of September, according to the latest gas price survey from the Energy Information Administration. The EIA report was released Monday,  before the U.S. government shutdown took effect at midnight. The report shows the price of gas was down in all regions of the United States, with drivers in the Midwestern U.S. enjoying the biggest price breaks. On average, Midwest fuel is down by nearly 11¢ per gallon in most places, which brings additional relief to a region stricken by unusually high prices during the summer.

September 2013 Gas Price Comparison

Gas finally fell nearly consistently through September, which was good news following the volatile price market in August.

The price of gas dropped an average of 18¢ per gallon, overall, in the United States during September, ending the summer in exactly the opposite fashion to the start of the season, when supply issues and refinery problems pushed prices higher. The price of regular unleaded started September around $3.61 per gallon, which was the U.S. average on September 2. The month closed with the price down to only $3.43 per gallon, but prices were much lower across the Lower Atlantic and Midwest states. For the latter two regions, the price of fuel plunged an average of 30¢ per gallon, or just about 9-percent.

California drivers are not getting much gas price relief, however. The price of fuels in California is up for the month of September, which dragged the entire West Coast average higher for the month. When one takes California out of the equation, the price of gasoline on the West Coast still only declined by about a nickel per gallon, far less than most other regions. The Rocky Mountain states fared only slightly better, with the cost of a gallon of gas dipping by about 8¢ per gallon, significantly less than the U.S. average and only about 25% of the decline enjoyed by many drivers in the nation’s mid-section.

For truckers, the price of gas was also down this week, according to the EIA survey report. The average price of a gallon of diesel was down by about 3¢ per gallon in nearly all regions, except the Rocky Mountain states, where the price dropped by only about a penny in most areas. The cost of operating a tractor-trailor rig is lower, however, than at this time last year.

Nationwide, the cost of a  gallon of diesel is down by about 16¢ from the 2012 level, with prices dopwn by as much as a quarter per gallon on the West Coast and nearly 30¢ per gallon in the Rocky Mountain states.