Despite a less-than-rosier outlook for the global economy and for freight volumes, gasoline and diesel fuel prices in the U.S. stayed on an upward trend this week although at a much slower pace.
The average U.S. price for diesel inched up 1.2 cents this week to $3.695 per gallon, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Prices increased in every region of the U.S. except for the Rocky mountain area, which recorded a decline of 8/10ths of a penny per gallon.
Overall, however, the average cost for diesel in the U.S. remains well below last year’s figures, EIA noted, with this week’s price 22.8 cents cheaper per gallon compared to the same week in 2011.
The U.S. average price for gasoline also increased this week, the agency said, albeit just 1.6 cents to reach $3.427 per gallon. Prices were up in every U.S. region except for three: the Midwest, which registered a 2.2 cent per gallon decline; the Rocky mountains, where prices dipped 4.2 cents per gallon; and California, where prices fell 2.9 cents per gallon.
Yet compared to the same week in 2011, the current U.S. average price for gasoline is 25.5 cents cheaper per gallon, according to EIA’s figures.
Where longer-term trends are concerned, the EIA noted this developing bright spot: the Permian Basin—a long-time oil and natural gas producing region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico—is showing signs of new life.
The agency reported that the basin’s active oil rig count has grown from 100 rigs in mid-2009 to over 500 rigs by May this year, with oil production passing the 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) threshold in 2011 – the first time the basin recorded such production levels since 1998.