Average retail pump prices for both diesel and gasoline continued falling this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), with the agency projecting annual motor fuel expenditures for U.S. households could fall to their lowest level in 11 years in 2015.
The national retail pump price average for diesel fell 13.8 cents this week to $3.281 per gallon, EIA reported, which is 59.2 cents cheaper when compared to the same week in 2013.
Diesel prices declined in every region of the country, the agency noted, falling the most in the Midwest by 17.9 cents to $3.294 per gallon.
The second and third largest declines occurred in the Rocky Mountain region followed with a 16.6 cent decline to $3.338 per gallon, followed by the Gulf Coast with a 15.3 cent dip to $3.175 per gallon – the cheapest price for diesel in the U.S., EIA reported.
The national retail pump price average for gasoline dropped 15.1 cents this week to $2.403 per gallon – marking the 88th day of continued price declines – which is 86.8 cents per gallon cheaper when compared to the same week in 2013, the agency said.
Gasoline prices declined in every region of the country, dipping the most in the Rocky Mountains by 20.2 cents to $2.384 per gallon.
The Midwest posted the second-largest drop in gasoline prices at 19.3 cents to $2.224 per gallon, followed by the Gulf Coast with a 15.2 cent decrease to $2.176 per gallon, which is the cheapest price for gasoline in the nation, EIA noted.
Based on current fuel price trends, the agency now expects the average U.S. household will spend about $550 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014 – a drop attributable to a combination of falling retail gasoline prices and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
The EIA said household gasoline costs are forecast to average $1,962 next year – the first time such expenditures dipped below $2,000 since 2009, according to EIA's December 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
The agency added that the price for U.S. regular gasoline has fallen 11 weeks in a row to $2.55 per gallon as of December 15, down $1.16 per gallon from its 2014 peak in late April and the lowest price since October 2009, with gasoline prices forecast to go even lower in 2015.
EIA reiterated that U.S. gasoline prices are falling largely because of lower crude oil prices – now estimated to average $68 per barrel in 2015 – which accounts for about two-thirds of the price U.S. drivers pay for a gallon of gasoline.