The national average retail pump price for diesel increased this week, while gasoline declined, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), with most U.S. regions reporting hikes in prices for both fuels compared to last week.
The national average for diesel increased 3.6 cents to $2.481 per gallon this week, the agency noted, though that is 5 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015.
Diesel prices increased in every region of the U.S., EIA added, with the largest upticks occurring in:
- The West Coast without California included: up 4.4 cents to $2.685 per gallon (with California that changes to a 3 cent increase to $2.742 per gallon, the highest average price for diesel in the nation this week)
- The Midwest: up 4.1 cents to $2.48
- The Gulf Coast: up 4 cents to $2.357 (the lowest average price for diesel in the U.S.)
- The Central Atlantic: up 3.9 cents to $2.579
By contrast, the national average for gasoline declined 1.5 cents to $2.257 per gallon this week, EIA reported, which is 2 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week last year.
Gasoline prices increased in every region of the country this week except for two:
- The Midwest: down 6.6 cents to $2.155 per gallon
- New England: down 2/10ths of a penny to $2.155
Other than those two areas, gasoline prices increased in every other region of the country for the week, with a 2.5 cent hike to $2.269 per gallon in the Rocky Mountains the biggest hike.
EIA also noted in its Winter Fuels Outlook that most U.S. households can expect higher heating expenditures this winter – a season the agency marks from October through March.
Winter heating expenditures for most fuels were especially low last winter, the agency said, as energy prices were relatively low and warm weather reduced heating demand to the lowest level nationally in at least 25 years.
EIA said its projections of heating demand are based on the most recent temperature forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which reflect weather that would be 13% colder than last winter but about 3% warmer than the previous 10-year average. In the past five winters, actual temperatures have been more than 10% colder than NOAA’s September forecast once and more than 10% warmer than forecast twice.
The choice of primary heating fuel varies considerably by region, the agency noted, resulting in regional differences in total expenditures. Natural gas is the most common space heating fuel in every region except the South, where electric heating is more prevalent, while propane is more common in the Midwest
Heating oil, however, is much more common in the Northeast than in other regions of the country, EIA pointed out, and as it is made from the same crude oil distillate as diesel fuel, an uptick in demand could affect diesel prices.