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Diesel and gasoline prices keep declining

Dec. 2, 2014

Average retail pump prices for diesel and gasoline continued to decrease this week across the U.S.; the result of continued declines in global oil prices, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

Diesel dropped 2.3 cents this week to a national average of $3.605 per gallon, which is 27.8 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2013, EIA noted.

Retail pump prices for diesel declined in every region of the country, dipping the most in the Midwest by 4.1 cents to $3.702 per gallon. The Gulf Coast remained home to the cheapest diesel in the nation, falling 1 cent to $3.501 per gallon, the agency reported.

Gasoline decreased 4.3 cents to a national average of $2.778 per gallon, which is 49.4 cents cheaper compared to the same week in 2013, EIA said.

Retail pump prices for gasoline fell in every region of the nation this week, the agency added, with only the West Coast above the $3 per gallon mark. Gasoline declined 3.2 cents to $3.016 per gallon on the West Coast this week, but EIA noted that changes to a 4.3 cent dip to $2.963 per gallon when California’s prices are removed from the mix.

The biggest drop in gasoline prices this week occurred in the Rocky Mountain region – a 7.2 decrease to $2.861 per gallon – followed by the Gulf Coast with a 6.2 cent dip to $2.531 per gallon, which is also the cheapest price for gasoline in the U.S. this week, EIA pointed out.

The agency added that much of the decline in gasoline prices since mid-2014 is attributable to reduced oil prices – a drop resulting from the combination of robust U.S. crude oil production growth, a return of Libyan production, weakening expectations for the global economy (particularly in China), and seasonally low refinery demand.

EIA noted that North Sea Brent spot prices for oil declined from a July monthly average of $112 per barrel to a November monthly average of $80 per barrel through November 24, with the average U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline price dropping by extension some 88 cents per gallon since the start of July.

The agency emphasized, though, that gasoline prices across the country reflect differences in gasoline quality, taxes, and the characteristics of regional market supply and demand balances.

For example, West Coast prices typically exceed the U.S. average because of stricter fuel specifications in California and the region's isolation from other domestic markets.

For the remainder of 2014, EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) predicts that U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline will continue to decline and average $2.80 per gallon in December. The agency further forecasts in the most recent STEO report that the U.S. retail price for gasoline should average $2.94 per gallon in 2015.

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