National Average Remains $3.46, But West Coast Gets Slight Break
The price of a gallon of regular unleaded remained the same during the past week, at least when viewed at the national level. Regional prices were down for some, particularly on the West Coast of the United States, but the national average remained at $3.46 per gallon, according to the latest price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
This week’s E.I.A. report shows the cost of fuel barely moved for drivers east of the Rocky Mountain states, although there was about a penny decline in prices for drivers in the Lower Atlantic states, the only region in the east that enjoyed a decline of any significance.
For drivers across the Midwest and the Gulf Coast, the cost of gas slipped up about a penny. The average along the Gulf Coast is still about $3.22, however, because price changes are measured to the thousandths of a dollar before being rounded to the nearest penny. Gulf Coast gas prices remain the lowest in the nation.
Truckers May See Diesel Prices Notch Upward
The cost of a gallon of diesel did not budge in this week’s survey, at least at the national level. Diesel remained priced at $3.81 per gallon, although prices in six of the eight major survey areas shows prices beginning to move upward. The cost of diesel had been coming down for the past several weeks, albeit slowly. This week’s survey is the first time diesel prices have notched up for so many regions since the end of June, when the national average was about 11¢ per gallon higher.
Crude Oil Prices Still Falling But May Reverse
Crude oil prices, which had peaked at the end of June, have continued to decline dramatically in the past eight weeks; however, prices have notched up on two separate occasions in the past week. Even so, West Texas Intermediate, the domestic oil future, was trading down again Tuesday to it’s lowest levels since January. Bloomberg News was citing an ample supply of overseas oil as contributing to speculation there would be weaker demand for U.S. oil, pushing prices down. Bloomberg cited the current selloff of Brent Light Sweet Crude, along with other E.I.A. reports, in its own assessment.
Meanwhile, the U.S. crude oil inventory report is due Wednesday, which Bloomberg reports is likely to show inventories shrank during the past week. Recent speculation about domestic inventories is the reason WTI has popped twice in the past week, and at least one investor quoted by Bloomberg said WTI will likely remain strong against Brent, particularly in the wake of some pipeline issues that are restricting the movement of crude oil supplies to storage and refinery destinations.
That has the potential to at least prevent U.S. gas prices from going down significantly over the next couple of weeks. Current futures contracts are for October delivery.