Mixed Regional Numbers Still Add Up To Higher National Average
The cost of driving got a little more expensive, at least in terms of gas prices, during the past week, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA weekly survey shows the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas increased about two cents to $3.31. Most drivers, except perhaps those along the West Coast and Midwest, will hardly notice a change in prices, which have been vacillating within one or two cents of their current levels for the past month. However, in the Midwest, where prices are typically quite volatile, the price of a gallon of fuel jumped nearly a nickel during the past week. Prices in California dragged the West Coast average higher by nearly three cents for most drivers.
Trucking Industry Hit Hard By Consecutive Weekly Price Hikes
Hauling goods over land became more expensive, again, during the past week, as the EIA reports the price of a gallon of diesel jumped anywhere from a penny in the West to over eight cents per gallon along the Atlantic Coast. Prices along the East Coast, a region plagued by horrific winter storms that have created myriad travel troubles, have jumped by as much as 22 cents per gallon in just two weeks. Meanwhile, truckers along the West Coast have enjoyed relatively stable prices of diesel fuel, unlike drivers of regular gas-powered vehicles. Only California has been witness to slight price increases in the western regions, and those tend to average only a penny per gallon.
Futures Hit The Century Mark As WTI Spikes
If anything other than weather is to portend higher fuel costs in the coming weeks, it is likely to be the March futures prices for West Texas Intermediate crude. WTI spiked to over $100 per barrel on Monday, and the critical futures index was trading over $101.25 close to the mid-day trading point on Wednesday, February 12. Brent Light Sweet crude is also higher, spiking once again during the past week to trade closer to $110 per barrel.
The key difference between the two futures indices is their trend line during the past month. While Brent has been subject to instability resulting from supply and political issues overseas, WTI, which is a domestic crude index has been on a steady climb since the middle of January. It has now surpassed its December highs.
China’s Thirst For Oil Drives U.S. Futures Higher
The price of futures has gone higher despite the fact there is an ample supply of oil for the U.S. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that demand in China was a major factor in the current futures price bids. “China’s imports of crude rose to 6.6 million barrels a day in January, up nearly 12 percent on the same month last year and the highest figure on record,” the AP reported.