The Gulf Coast is the only US region this week where gasoline prices slipped under the 2 per gallon mark EIA said Photo by Sean KilcarrFleet Owner

The Gulf Coast is the only U.S. region this week where gasoline prices slipped under the $2 per gallon mark, EIA said. (Photo by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

U.S. fuel prices dip down for the week

Yet regional price upticks occur for diesel and gasoline, mainly on the West Coast.

National average retail pump prices for diesel and gasoline declined this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), though price increases did occur on a regional basis though mainly on the West Coast.

Diesel dipped 8/10ths of a penny to $2.399 per gallon this week, the agency noted, which is 11.8 cents per gallon cheaper com[pared to the same week last year.

Prices declined for diesel in every region of the country except out on the West Coast, where diesel increased 2/10ths of a penny to $2.666 per gallon – though that changed to a 1/10th of a penny decrease to $2.553 per gallon with California’s prices removed from the mix.

California recorded a 1/10th increase in diesel to $2.756 per gallon EIA noted.

The agency added that the biggest dips in diesel prices for the week occurred in:

  • The Lower Atlantic: down 1.2 cents to $2.323 per gallon.
  • The Midwest: down 1.1 cents to $2.376.
  • New England: down a penny to $2.410.

The national average retail pump price for gasoline dropped 2.1 cents to $2.202 per gallon for the week, EIA noted, which is 17.3 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week last year.

Gasoline prices increased in three regions this week, the agency said:

  • The West Coast: up 3.8 cents to $2.632 per gallon.
  • The West Coast less California’s prices: up 2.2 cents to $2.423
  • The Rocky Mountains: up 7/10ths of a penny to $2.274

Big declines in three other regions, however, contributed to the overall dip for the national average price of gasoline for the week, EIA added:

  • The Midwest: down 4.5 cents to $2.135 per gallon.
  • The Gulf Coast: down 3.2 cents to $1.973 (the only region sporting under $2 per gallon gasoline).
  • The Lower Atlantic: down 3 cents to $2.095.

In terms of the global oil markets, the agency added member nations of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) earned $404 billion in net oil export revenue in 2015, which represents a 46% decline from the $753 billion OPEC earned in 2014.

Although these net export earnings include Iran's revenues, the net export revenue is not adjusted for possible price discounts that Iran may have offered its customers between late 2011 and January 2016, when nuclear-related sanctions targeting Iran's oil sales were in place.

EIA noted that OPEC’s decline in net oil export revenue – which is now at its lowest level since 2004 – is due to falling crude oil prices, with the monthly average Brent spot price decreasing from$112 per barrel in June of 2014 to $38 per barrel by December 2015.

Based on EIA price forecasts, which are subject to a wide range of uncertainty, OPEC revenue is expected to fall to $341 billion in 2016 before rising back to $427 billion in 2017.

Although declining crude oil prices are the “main driver” behind lower OPEC revenue since mid-2014, unplanned production outages among some OPEC members is also contributing to those lower export earnings, EIA said.

A number of OPEC countries experienced relatively high levels of unplanned outages in recent years, with some of those outages the result of political factors, such as the sanctions-related production shut-ins in Iran between 2011 and early 2016, when roughly 0.8 million barrels per day remained off the market.

Other unplanned outages have been related to armed conflict and militant activity in countries such as Libya and Nigeria

In Venezuela, crude oil production has declined sharply since the end of 2015, as oil service companies have largely stopped work in response to a lack of payment by state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., and oil production may continue to decline in the near term, EIA said.

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