Higher inventory levels are likely help moderate gasoline price increases typically seen during the start of the summer driving season the agency added Photo by Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

Higher inventory levels are likely help moderate gasoline price increases typically seen during the start of the summer driving season, the agency added. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

Change in direction for fuel prices

Diesel fuel prices decline for first time in 11 weeks.

National average retail prices for both diesel and gasoline decreased this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), though several regions of the U.S. witnessed increases.

Diesel dropped 5/10ths of a penny to $2.426 per gallon, which is 43.3 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015, EIA noted.

However, on a regional basis, diesel increased in the Lower Atlantic by 5/10ths of a penny to $2.542 per gallon and inched up 2/10ths of a penny to $2.494 in New England, while remaining flat in the Rocky Mountains at $2.213, the agency said.

Yet all other regions of the U.S. marked declines in diesel prices, EIA pointed out, with the biggest in the Lower Atlantic at 1.4 cents to $2.358 per gallon followed by the Gulf Coast at 1.1 cents to $2.296.

Price declines were larger for gasoline, according to the agency’s numbers, with the national average retail price for gasoline dipping 4.6 cents this week to $2.353 per gallon; some 45.9 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015.

Only one region of the country marked an increase in gasoline prices this week: the Rocky Mountains, where prices inched up 8/10ths of a penny to $2.33 per gallon. By contrast, every other area of the U.S. posted gasoline price declines, with the largest occurring in:

  • The Midwest: down 9.6 cents to $2.37 per gallon
  • The Lower Atlantic: down 4.5 cents to $2.213
  • The Gulf Coast: down 3.9 cents to $2.096

EIA added in its This Week in Petroleum report that inventories for both gasoline and “distillate,” from which diesel fuel and heating oil are made, have stayed above the five-year historical range for most of 2016 and may help moderate gasoline prices through the summer,

On an absolute basis, gasoline inventories are 19 million barrels greater than at the same time last year and distillate inventories are also 19 million barrels higher, the agency noted, so despite an increase in gasoline consumption and exports so far this year versus the same stretch in 2015, those higher inventory levels will likely help moderate gasoline price increases typically seen during the start of the summer driving season.

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