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Diesel falls again, flirts with $4 mark

May 2, 2023
The U.S average falls for the second week in a row—by 5.9 cents to $4.018 per gallon, according to U.S. EIA, meaning the average has dropped 12 of the last 13 weeks. In a couple of EIA regions, trucking's main fuel sits well below $4.

The U.S. average price for diesel fuel came close to $4 per gallon the week of May 1, sliding for the second week in a row and dropping 5.9 cents to $4.018, according to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

The decrease comes after the EIA average fell 3.9 cents to $4.077 per gallon the week of April 24. Diesel now is back to almost $1.50 cheaper per gallon—$1.491—than the fuel was a year ago. Motor club AAA had diesel down on May 2 by 5.5 cents to $4.112 per gallon compared to the prior week but 9.4 cents more than the EIA average. AAA also sees diesel fuel down by 10.8 cents in the last month.

In two of EIA’s reporting regions, diesel fuel already is well below $4. And only one region in the U.S., the Rocky Mountains, had a diesel increase, and the fuel there rose just 2.2 cents to $4.146 per gallon, according to EIA. Everywhere else, trucking’s main fuel dropped. It shrunk the most on the East Coast, where diesel was down 7.8 cents to $4.073. The Gulf Coast (by 6.9 cents to $3.754) and the Midwest (by 6.7 cents to $3.917) saw nearly identical declines. The most expensive place for diesel, the West Coast, saw a tiny 1.1-cent decline in price, to $4.681 per gallon.

Gasoline also fell nationwide the week of May 1 by 5.6 cents to $3.60 per gallon, according to EIA. Gas is 41.8 cents cheaper per gallon than diesel this week and is 58.2 cents lower than it was last year at this time. Gas also is lower in every region of the U.S. this week, according EIA's newest data.

Oil staying below $80 a barrel

Oil prices started this week down from the week of April 24. West Texas Intermediate was below $75 per barrel and Brent crude was close to WTI at around $78 on bearish sentiment over souring economic conditions in the oil investment market. EIA data shows that WTI crude futures fell $1.09 per barrel on April 28, down $28.58 from the same point in 2022.

There’s seemingly nothing presently in the market that would drive a fuel-price increase. Oil supply has recovered, though inventories were down 5.1 million barrels the week of April. 21. At 460.9 million barrels overall, inventories are only 1% below the five-year average, according to Oil & Gas Journal, a FleetOwner sister publication.

See also: More signs add to anxiety over rough freight economy

“After declining the prior week at a slow pace, the drop in the national [gasoline] average has gained momentum. Oil prices have come under additional selling pressure alongside wholesale gasoline prices, giving retailers room to pass on the lower prices,” said Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis. “Diesel prices have followed, falling to their lowest in over 13 months as demand remains weak due to concerns over the economy.”

De Haan added: “With refinery maintenance wrapping up, we should see supplies start to build in the weeks ahead, just in time for the summer driving season, potentially putting more downward pressure on prices. However, while a majority of states saw gas prices drop, some, particularly in the Northeast, have yet to join in thanks to being the last to make the switch to summer gasoline—but relief will be on the way soon in areas that have resisted the fall thus far.”

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl | Managing Editor

I'm back to the trucking and transportation track of my career after some time away freelancing and working to cover the branches of the U.S. military, specifically the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism there with several years of experience inside and outside business-to-business journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit FleetOwner magazine and our website as well as report and write all kinds of news that affects trucking and transportation.

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