Meanwhile, the agency also noted that overall use of natural gas as a “primary energy source” increased significantly for much of the nation over the past year.
The national average retail price for diesel dropped 2.3 cents this week to $2.379 per gallon, EIA noted – which is 34.4 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015 – with diesel falling 3.5 cents per gallon over the last three weeks.
All regions of the country recorded declines in diesel prices, with the biggest dips occurring in:
- The West Coast with California excluded: down 3.3 cents to $2.536; down 2.3 cents to $2.663 with California’s prices included;
- The Midwest: down 2.8 cents to $2.341;
- The Lower Atlantic: down 2.6 cents to $2.306.
The national average retail price for gasoline also declined 2.3 cents this week to $2.230 per gallon – which is 57.2 cents per gallon cheaper versus the same week in 2015, EIA said – and is down 6.1 cents per gallon over the last three weeks.
Gasoline prices declined in every region of the country, the agency noted, with prices falling the most along the East Coast. Gasoline prices in the Lower Atlantic dipped 4.6 cents to $2.072 this week, with the Central Atlantic recording a 4.3 cent dip to $2.229 and the East Coast as a whole reporting a 4.3 cent decline to $2.155.
On another energy front, EIA pointed out in its Monthly Energy Review that while “primary energy consumption” fell slightly in 2015, natural gas consumption increased more than any other energy source, accounting for 29% of total primary energy consumption.
As domestic natural gas production continues to reach record levels, natural gas prices have remained low, the agency added, with low natural gas prices leading mainly to increased use of natural gas-fired generators in the electric power sector.
U.S. petroleum consumption grew in 2015 as well, EIA pointed out, as lower gasoline and diesel prices led to increased vehicle travel throughout the nation last year.
In addition, exports of U.S. petroleum products continue to grow, driven largely by demand in South and Central America, with crude oil exports growing significantly in 2014 and averaging 458,000 barrels per day by 2015.