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U.S. diesel average surges almost a dime

July 25, 2023
The 9.9-cent increase to $3.905 per gallon is largest one-week rise in 16 months, according to new government data. Trucking’s main fuel saw the biggest jumps on the Gulf Coast and in the Lower Atlantic as California diesel nears $5 per gallon.

After staying precisely flat last week from the week before, the U.S. average price for diesel fuel surged almost a dime for the week of July 24, the largest increase in more than a year, since March 2022, according to the latest federal government data.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration average for the nation as a whole rose 9.9 cents to $3.905, but still sits at $1.363 per gallon less than a year ago. Motor club AAA’s own national diesel average rose significantly less than EIA's by July 25 but still had climbed 4.4 cents to $3.90 per gallon from one week ago.

The reason for the surge in diesel prices might be as simple as rising per-barrel prices for oil, West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude, which have incrementally increased in recent weeks. And they rose on July 25 to highs not seen since mid-April. Brent crude stood near $83 per barrel while WTI was near $79 on Tuesday. Since increases in fuel prices usually lag crude by a few weeks, retail prices may continue to rise in the coming weeks. The future data from EIA and AAA will tell.

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According to EIA’s own crude oil price data, WTI crude futures prices were up $1.65 per barrel on July 21 from the week earlier, but they were a whopping $19.28 lower than a year earlier.

The U.S. average for gasoline, which is widely used by consumers and by some commercial fleets and work truckers, also rose for the week of July 24 but not as much as diesel and not universally in every EIA region and subregion as was the case with diesel. The national average for gas rose 3.7 cents to $3.596 per gallon and sits 73.4 below the level of a year ago, according to the new EIA data.

“For the second straight week, we saw another small rise in the national average, which has been stuck in the same 10-cent range we’re in today since April. It’s been a remarkably quiet summer for gas prices, which have been far less active than normal,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in the company’s weekly blog for July 24.

Diesel up everywhere, in some places by double digits

Trucking’s main fuel surged in every region, by double digits in one EIA region (the Gulf Coast, where the fuel rose 13.4 cents to $3.640 per gallon but still is the cheapest in the U.S.), in one subregion (the Lower Atlantic, where it increased 11.4 cents to $3.893) and nearly so in three other EIA regions and two more subregions.

Diesel surged 9.2 cents on the East Coast to $3.971, by 8.8 cents to $3.814 in the Midwest, and a flat 9 cents on the West Coast to $4.555. It surged in the West’s two subregions, by 9.6 cents to $4.944 in California itself (the priciest diesel in the country) and the West Coast less California, where it was up 8.6 cents to $4.217 per gallon. The fuel rose 4.7 cents in the Rocky Mountain region to $3.974.

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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