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 government, 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, particularly 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.
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. TurnpikeInfo.com 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.