Average U.S. prices for diesel and gasoline rebounded sharply over the holidays and into the New Year, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). EIA reported that diesel climbed nearly 3 cents per gallon between Dec. 26 and Jan. 9 while gasoline surged nearly 13 cents a gallon over the same time period – all in large part due to volatility in the global oil market.
Diesel fuel went from a national average of $3.791/gal. down to $3.783 during the week of Jan. 2 before rebounding over 4.5 cents to $3.828/gal. by Jan. 9, the agency noted. The Lower Atlantic region watched diesel prices increase the most, by nearly 7 cents a gallon, between Jan. 2 and Jan.9, according to EIA.
Overall, the highest prices for diesel fuel per gallon in the U.S. as of Jan. 9 are California ($4.111), the West Coast ($4.02), the Central Atlantic region ($3.996), the East Coast ($3.908) and the Rocky Mountains ($3.843).
Gasoline skyrocketed from a nationwide average of $3.258/gal. on Dec. 26 to $3.382/gal. by Jan. 9, EIA reported – shooting up over 8 cents per gallon alone between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9 this year.
The Gulf Coast registered the highest one week jump in gasoline – over 10 cents per gallon – between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9, according to the agency’s figures, while the cost of gasoline dropped in but one region of the country – the Rocky Mountains – by over 2 cents per gallon.
The EIA also noted in its year-end Today in Energy report that record high averages for oil prices are pushing up the cost of fuel at the pump.
For example, the agency noted that the global Brent crude price for oil averaged about $111 per barrel in 2011 – marking the first time this global benchmark averaged more than $100 per barrel for a year.
As a result, the U.S. national average pump price for gasoline and diesel during 2011 never fell below $3/gal., EIA said, marking the first time the national pump price for both transportation fuels topped that level throughout a calendar year.
Yet EIA also stressed that U.S. exports of gasoline and distillates, which were mostly diesel fuel, reached record levels in 2011 and as a result, the U.S. became a net exporter of petroleum for the first time since 1949.