National average retail pump prices for both diesel and gasoline dropped yet again this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). And this continued decline in fuel prices – reflected an ongoing slump in global oil prices – is leading to reduced employment in the U.S. energy sector, the agency noted.
The national average retail pump price for diesel slid 3.2 cents this week to $2.316 per gallon, EIA reported, which is 30.1 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015.
Diesel prices declined in every region of the country, the agency added, with the biggest drops occurring in:
- The Gulf Coast: down 4 cents to $2.184 per gallon
- The Lower Atlantic: down 3.8 cents to $2.241
- The West Coast sans California’s prices: down 3.8 to $2.454. (With California included, prices dipped 3.4 cents to $2.707)
The national average retail pump price for gasoline, however, witnessed a must smaller decline this week: just 9/10ths of a penny to $2.13 per gallon, which is 47.9 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015, EIA said.
The Midwest is in the only region of the country where gasoline prices increased: rising 4 cents to $2.115 per gallon.
On a regional basis, though, gasoline prices declined everywhere else in the U.S., dropping the most in New England, down 4.3 cents to $2.125 per gallon, and out on the West Coast sans California’s prices; down 4.1 cents to $2.573. (With California included, prices dipped 3.4 cents to $2.387 for the West Coast).
Two regions of the country now boast gasoline prices below the $2 per gallon mark, according to EIA data: The Gulf Coast at $1.928 per gallon (down 1.6 cents from last week) and the Lower Atlantic at $1.991 (down 3.4 cents from last week).
EIA pointed out, however, that this continued decline in fuel prices – a reflection in part of a global slump in oil prices – is leading to job losses in the U.S. energy sector.
The agency noted that the total drilling rig count in the U.S. (including both oil-directed and natural gas-directed rigs) is down sharply from two years ago, from nearly 1,800 rigs in the fall of 2014 to a weekly low of 404 rigs by May this year.
EIA added that employment in oil and natural gas production reached a high of 538,000 jobs in October 2014, but since then, oil and natural gas production employment declined 26%, resulting in a loss of more than 142,000 jobs through May of this year (based on the latest jobs data available).
That total decrease in production jobs is nearly three times the 51,000 jobs lost over a 13-month period during the “Great Recession” of 2008–2009, the agency emphasized.