Truckers that saw signs of relief at the pump in July are doing a double take this month. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average retail price of diesel rose 5.8-cents last week, and has gone up 10.5 cents in the month of August.
According to the department’s Energy Information Administration, the national average of $1.452 is the highest price since it hit $1.447 on June 25. Of the nine regions polled, only the Midwest has higher average prices than it did the last week in June.
The Midwest, where the price rose 11.2-cents, market conditions are affected by the projected six-month shutdown of a Citgo refinery due to structural problems caused by a fire on August 14. That same shutdown has boosted retail gasoline prices by more than 20 cents a gallon in many markets throughout the Central U.S.
Also, according to a previous report by Oil Price Information Service, several refiners have scheduled midsummer maintenance or reduced crude runs. OPIS said that at some point during late July or early August, upwards of 770,000-850,000 barrels per day of refining capacity could be off line as the result of unplanned unit problems or conscious decisions to reduce crude runs or perform maintenance. That represents about 5% of the U.S. daily refinery output.
New England actually saw prices remain flat for the week, with a one-thousandth of a cent decrease to $1.46. California jumped from $1.518 to $1.574, the West Coast region from $1.469 to $1.536 and Rocky Mountain states from $1.388 to $1.447.
The Lower Atlantic region (1.352) replaced the Gulf Coast ($1.357) as the area with the lowest prices.