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Summer diesel surge reaches eight weeks

Sept. 12, 2023
The latest bump in the national average for the week of Sept. 11: 4.8 cents to $4.54 per gallon. Trucking’s main fuel also rose in nine of 10 U.S. Energy Information Administration regions and subregions.

The U.S. average price for diesel fuel rose for the eighth straight week, based on the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), surging another 4.8 cents to $4.54 per gallon for the week of Sept. 11.

The national price for trucking’s main fuel now sits about 74 cents higher than it was in just mid-July and within 50 cents—49.3 cents—of the per-gallon price of one year ago, a time when diesel was surging to record levels. The fuel also rose in nine of 10 regions of the country that EIA monitors, on the West Coast by a whopping 14.5 cents to $5.535 and in California itself by even more: 16.9 cents to almost $6 per gallon, $5.97.

See also: Brokers optimistic about 2024, despite weak freight rates and demand

Motor club AAA’s U.S. average for diesel on Sept. 12 was 3.6 cents higher than the week before to $4.488 per gallon and 19 cents higher than a month ago, when according to AAA it was $4.295.

EIA’s national average for gasoline, used widely by consumers and pumped by many commercial fleets and work truckers, rose 1.5 cents to $3.822, or 13.2 cents more per gallon than a year ago.

“With most of the nation switching back to cheaper winter gasoline on [Sept. 15], we should see more price decreases for most of the nation in the weeks ahead, barring further refinery disruptions and hurricane season,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Fall tends to bring falling gas prices, and I’m hoping this year won’t be any different.”

Diesel increases slight across U.S.—except out West

The West Coast and California bore the brunt of the worst price increases for trucking’s main fuel for the week of Sept. 12. Almost everywhere else, the fuel was up but more modestly.

The increase on the East Coast was half a penny to $4.479 per gallon, while diesel rose in two of its subregions, New England by 1.1 cents (to $4.478) and by 2.6 cents in the Central Atlantic (to $4.651 per gallon). The Lower Atlantic subregion of the East Coast was the only place in the U.S. where trucking’s main fuel actually dropped (by two-tenths of a penny to $4.417).

See also: Electric trucks, charging depots set for September shakedown

The fuel rose 4.4 cents in the Midwest to $4.427 per gallon, 4.1 cents along the Gulf Coast to $4.212 (the cheapest region or subregion for diesel in the U.S.), and 8.3 cents to $4.810 per gallon (the most expensive place for trucking’s main fuel elsewhere but the West Coast).

Oil also has trended higher again this week, as West Texas Intermediate crude has floated just below $90 per barrel, while Brent crude has sat consistently above $90, so while gasoline might trend lower in the coming weeks diesel may stay higher.

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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