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Diesel down slightly, reversing spike of a week before

Sept. 7, 2022
Trucking's main fuel falls slightly—3.1 cents—but the U.S. average sits above the symbolic $5 mark. Prices were down in every region and, despite decreased production from OPEC, crude oil prices have dropped with demand, meaning diesel could stay lower.

The national average price for a gallon of diesel fell 3.1 cents to $5.084 for the week of Sept. 5. This is part of a near-continuous decline since mid-June that was interrupted by a 20.6-cent spike last week, the first time it had risen above $5 since the start of August, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Diesel’s per-gallon record was the week of June 20, when the fuel was $5.81 per gallon. The current $5.084 still is $1.711 higher than a year ago, according to EIA.

See also: Diesel surges well above $5, the first rise in more than two months

Every region of the U.S. saw the price of diesel fall this week. The Midwest–which saw the largest spike last week after supply concerns–had the steepest decline in price, falling 4 cents per gallon, although it is still the second-most expensive region at $5.132. The East Coast region, traditionally more expensive, saw its price fall 3.3 cents to $5.033. Usually the most-expensive region, the West Coast, saw a 2.6-cent decline to $5.693. The Gulf Coast’s average price fell 2.5 cents to $4.796, and the Rocky Mountain region’s price stayed practically the same, declining less than a penny to $4.971.

Truckers and fleets across the country have been feeling pain at the pump the past year, despite some recent relief, and competitive prices have meant truck stops had to entice drivers to use their facilities over those of their competitors. For example, Mid-Atlantic truck stop chain Sheetz announced it is reducing diesel to $4.49 through September. Sheetz also is, along with its partners, conducting a free fuel sweepstakes. Pilot Co. is offering rewards to truckers through October to entice them to use Pilot truck stops.

Motor club AAA, which measures fuel prices daily whereas the EIA measures them weekly, pegged diesel at $5.05 on average as of Sept. 7, a decline of 3.3 cents since last week and 10.8 cents since last month.

For gasoline’s national average price per gallon, the EIA measured an 8.1-cent decline to $3.746 for the week of Sept. 5. AAA measured a 7.7-cent decline to $3.764 as of Sept. 7.

Crude oil prices fall despite lower production

The price of crude oil has decreased in tandem with demand, and while there is always uncertainty in the market, analysts expect the trend to continue in the near term.

Despite the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied nations making a small trim to their output, 100,000 barrels per day, oil prices fell on Sept. 7. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate is about $87, a far cry from the highs of around $120 in June, according to crude tracker OilPrice.com.

See also: ATRI: Trucking endures 'costliest year ever'

AAA’s own analysis stated that oil prices also are more consumer-friendly because demand is being lowered by slower Chinese manufacturing output and new COVID-19 outbreaks in critical Chinese industrial cities.

Also, weather is playing a part, according to AAA. “According to weather analysts, it’s the first time in 25 years that a named Atlantic storm did not develop in August. That’s the good news,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, “but we still have another month of peak hurricane season, and these storms can affect gas prices by disrupting oil production and refining.”

Additionally, the latest weekly report from the EIA showed that total commercial crude inventories decreased by 3.4 million barrels to 418.3 million.

About the Author

Scott Keith

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