Tag Archives: diesel

Gas Prices Finally Ease After Thanksgiving Price Surge

Prices Turn Downward, Although Crude Remains Higher

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Gas prices across the United States continued to relax during the past week, this following a month-long price surge that peaked in the days immediately surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas, at the national level, is now $3.24, although drivers in some regions are enjoying $3.00 gas. The lowest official price, according to the weekly gas price survey from the Energy Information Administration, is $3.05, along the Gulf Coast.

Prices in the New England states and across the Central Atlantic actually rose by about a penny per gallon, according to this week’s EIA report. Prices in California and across the broader West Coast region were primarily flat, although some price declines were seen in scattered areas. The biggest price drops, during the past week, were in the Midwest and Gulf Coast, where prices were down by over 5¢ in each region.

For truckers, the news about this week’s diesel prices is more tempered. Diesel prices across the U.S. declined by about a penny in many regions, although for most drivers, prices were fairly flat, week over week. The price of a gallon of diesel, nationally,  fell from $3.88 last week to $3.87 this week. 

Prices Remain Above Seasonal Lows

For drivers nationwide, gas prices remain above their November 11 low, when the nationwide average had fallen to about $3.19 per gallon. In many regions, the price was well below $3.00, with the Gulf Coast enjoying the lowest prices of all regions, at $2.98. However, prices began ticking upward the following week, only to surge over the Thanksgiving holiday and in the days afterward.

CME Group

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where crude oil futures are traded. Prices for January delivery have soared in recent weeks.

The volatility in prices came from a number of sources, from geopolitical conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, to refinery issues in the United States. Futures prices jumped dramatically the week following Thanksgiving.

The price of West Texas Intermediate has slipped  from its high on December 10, when prices reached $98.67 per barrel, for January delivery. The WTI remained above $97 per barrel on Tuesday afternoon, and prices are well above their low of $92.36, on November 27.

Brent Light Sweet Crude, meanwhile, remains near $110 per barrel, having come off its early-December peak of $112.24, the highest it had been in 18 months. Brent, as a benchmark commodity, peaked about one week before dragging the WTI with it, in a speculative upturn driven by the lingering political instability in Libya and a dramatic decline in crude inventories at the start of the month.

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Gas Prices Level Off In Some Areas, Top Off In Others

Gas Prices Are Mixed As Diesel Prices Begin A New Surge

March 11, 2013 gas prices

Gas prices could be heading higher than government forecasters expect as Brent crude oil prices flirt with levels not seen since March 2012. Strikes in Libya and other supply disruptions have pushed Brent well past $112 per barrel, dragging WTI futures for January with it. WTI closed north of $96 per barrel Tuesday.

The recent upward turnaround in gas prices has begun to do another about-face, although the rise in fuel costs for some has continued past the Thanksgiving travel period. The lingering high prices and price increases continued to affect mainly the East Coast region, while most other areas saw prices level off or return to the declines that were enjoyed during October and the start of November. The declines may not last, however, if futures prices continue their unabashed escalation.

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Dowload EIA report.

The latest weekly survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas is now at $3.27, down from $3.29 last week but still six cents higher than the seasonal and yearly low that was enjoyed two weeks ago.

The average price of diesel continued upward, and at a more brisk pace, during the past week. The average price of a gallon of fuel is now costing truckers $3.88 at the national level, but regional prices are as high as $4.06. Drivers in New England, broadly, in the east and California, specifically, on the west coast were paying the highest prices. The lowest diesel prices were to be found on the Gulf Coast, but prices there are still averaging about $3.78 per gallon.

Crude Oil Could Be Grinch That Steals Christmas

The price of crude oil has been quite mixed lately, and Brent crude has been heavily influenced by supply problems originating in Libya. An EIA report issued just before the Thanksgiving holiday showed the continued strikes at loading ports have depressed Libyan crude supplies by about one million barrels per day. Indeed, the price of Brent has remained above $110 per barrel since November 21, peaking at prices not seen since August, when other supply disruptions in Libya affected the price of overseas crude.

Gas station sign in Breezewood

Breezewood, Pennsylvania in May 2012, two months after the Brent futures’ last mad dash into territory above $112.

However, the markets took a new turn Tuesday afternoon as when Brent crude closed significantly above $112 for the first time since early 2012. Tuesday trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange brought a fresh price levels and pressures as the benchmark commodity flirted with the $113 level before retreating some later in the day. Brent crude has only been that at that level or higher on three brief occasions in the past three years, with March 2012 being the last time the commodity has priced so high. The cost of gas at the pump, during the late spring of 2012, reflected that pricing pressure.

Domestic crude, West Texas Intermediate, has also been under price pressure of late, and Tuesday’s trading session pushed the WTI dramatically higher in the wake of Brent’s Monday and Tuesday closings. WTI for January delivery swelled well past $96. WTI had been on a longer-term downward trend, closing even as low as $91.77 per barrel the day before Thanksgiving.

The price of WTI on the New York Mercantile Exchange was at $96.12 per barrel on Tuesday afternoon, just at 4 p.m., the first time since Halloween prices have been so high, and an increase of $4.35 per barrel, or about 5%, in just three trading sessions since the holiday.

Nevertheless, the EIA has maintained its forecast that January 2014 prices will rise, but only as a short-term event as season supply and refinery adjustments are made. The longer-term forecast is for consumer prices of gas to continue sliding lower during 2014. However, prolonged supply issues in Libya and Europe could impel traders to drive futures further upward, which is not originally a part of the EIA forecast.

The price disruptions on the futures markets, as have happened in the past few days, are not likely to leave consumers unaffected. The questions only will be whether crude prices level off, and if they do not, will retailers hold off hiking prices until after the holiday season? If retail distributors and operators anticipate significant supply cost increases in January, they could begin raising prices weeks before January deliveries get underway.

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Gas Prices Keep Rising As Summer Driving Cost Becomes Winter Norm

The cost of a gallon of gas continued its unrelenting march to $4.00 per gallon this week as the average cost for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel reached $3.75, up an average of 11¢ per gallon for each of the past two weeks. The price of a gallon of gas has gone up about 50¢ since Christmas Day, less than two months ago, making the average cost of a fill up about $8.00 more expensive for the average U.S. driver. The price is based on a 16-gallon tank filled from near empty. The price of fuel is detailed in this week’s survey from the Energy Information Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy.

While the cost of gasoline rises, the cost of diesel fuel has also continued to go up week after week since the start of the year. The average price of a gallon of diesel fuel topped out at $4.33 per gallon, for truckers and diesel car owners driving in New England this week. For the U.S. as a whole, the cost is about $4.16 for each gallon of diesel.

Gas prices

Are we going to see $4-per-gallon gas soon? This picture, taken in May 2011 in Fort Lauderdale, shows prices at their pre-summer peak.

Part of the reason for the summer-time gas costs during February can be traced to a reduction in refinery capacity. Commodities trader Dennis Gartman told CNBC Tuesday, February 19, he believed the current cost of gas was traced to what he called an “extraordinary short squeeze” caused by BP and Hess each taking down large refineries. Gartman said the reduced refining capacity pulled “almost a half a million barrels of crude oil out of the market.” BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana is offline for routine maintenance, but the Hess refinery in New Jersey, which was closed in January, is slated to remain offline. That could create longer-term issues for fuel supplies.

The American Automobile Association reported the refinery closures are compounded by the fact crude oil, itself, is at nine-month highs, with Brent crude at over $119 per barrel. But, there is no consensus on just how high gas prices will rise or whether the current uptick in prices will continue at its current pace. Gartman told CNBC’s Fast Money he did not expect the fuel prices to keep going up; however, John Kilduff of Again Capital in New York told reporters Tuesday he would not be surprised if gas prices hit $5.00 per gallon.

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Cost To Drive Continues To Rise With Ever-Increasing Gas Prices

Gas pump icon

Weekly gas price survey

Gas and diesel prices across the United States are heading back to their post-Summer highs as the week-over-week increase in the per-gallon price continues rising, hitting $3.61 per gallon as of February 11, 2013.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly gas price survey shows the cost of driving will now set you back, on average, about $57.76 every fill up.  That price is based on the current U.S. per-gallon average of regular unleaded, multiplied by 16 gallons, the average size of a gas tank on a mid-size car.

The latest jump in prices means gasoline has increased more than 25¢ per gallon since the end of January, with gas prices now at their highest level since September 2012, when the average U.S. cost of a gallon of gas peaked at $3.86.

The 2013 gas price trend is in line with the start of the 2012 calendar year, which saw gasoline prices jump from an average of $3.40 in January, peaking at $3.93 per gallon in May, before declining rapidly through July.  The gas prices jumped again through the fall.  A chart of the long-term gas price trend, by month, can be downloaded here.

Diesel fuel pump icon

Weekly diesel price survey

Diesel prices also continued their weekly increase, although at a slower pace than during January. The EIA survey of diesel prices shows the cost of a gallon of fuel for truckers and diesel-car owners is now at just over $4.10 per gallon.

The rising cost of fuel has prompted some trucker publications, including Transport Topics, to offer tops to reduce fuel costs, particularly for fleet operators.

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Gas Prices for January 14, 2013: East Coast Gas Up, Diesel Prices Down

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Fuel price survey

Gas prices across most East Coast and Midwestern states nudged upward slightly during the past week, according to the latest fuel survey by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. The average U.S. price per gallon of Regular Unleaded was at just over $3.30 per gallon, according to the January 14 survey release, up from just under $3.30 last week. Fuel prices for the East Coast and New England were much higher, however, most drivers paying about $3.45 per gallon, a full 15¢ per gallon more than the U.S. Average.

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Diesel price survey

Diesel prices, however, nudged down slightly, a good sign for truckers who typically spend well over $4.00 per gallon for fuel, even though diesel is well known to be much more plentiful and easier to refine than gasoline. The East Coast average for a gallon of diesel fuel was just over $4.00 per gallon, with New England states enduring the highest prices for diesel, at $4.17 per gallon.

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