Diesel price roller coaster sends prices slightly down

December 4, 2017

Tyson Fisher


The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel went down four-tenths of a cent to $2.922 per gallon for the week ending Monday, Dec. 4. This marks the first decrease after a short-lived increase last week, which was preceded by a one-week decrease.

Diesel prices went down in seven of 10 regions in the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration. The largest average decrease was in the Central Atlantic and California regions, where prices at the pump went down 1.2 cents per gallon. Prices went up 1.6 cents in the New England region, the largest increase in the nation.

Following are the average prices by region as reported by the EIA:

  • U.S. – $2.922, down four-tenths of a cent
  • East Coast – $2.904, down three-tenths of a cent
  • New England – $2.897, up 1.6 cents
  • Central Atlantic – $3.062, down 1.2 cents
  • Lower Atlantic – $2.794, unchanged
  • Midwest – $2.877, down seven-tenths of a cent
  • Gulf Coast – $2.713, up one-tenth of a cent
  • Rocky Mountain – $3.019, down seven-tenths of a cent
  • West Coast – $3.373, down seven-tenths of a cent
  • West Coast less California – $3.106, down seven-tenths of a cent
  • California – $3.585, down 1.2 cents

According to ProMiles, the average retail price at truck stops was $2.876 on Monday morning, an eight-tenths of a cent increase from last week.

ProMiles, the software company that maintains the websites ProMiles.com and TruckMiles.com, continues to offer its own weekly fuel price information. The company’s fuel price data are presented in the same format used by the EIA in the agency’s weekly reports. The prices include a national average as well as regional averages, and comparisons to the previous week and the previous year.

A key difference between the EIA and ProMiles reporting is the type and number of fueling stations the company surveys in order to calculate its averages. While EIA surveys 400 truck stops and convenience stores nationwide, ProMiles uses its direct feed from thousands of truck stops to develop its averages.

TruckMiles.com listed the daily average price for Monday at $2.947, with truckers in California paying an average of $3.619 per gallon, the highest in the nation. Truckers in Oklahoma are paying a national low of $2.652 per gallon, according to the site. No states in the Lower 48 states have been listed in excess of $4 per gallon at the pump since Dec. 4, 2014. Thirteen states are reporting average prices above $3, unchanged from last week. No states have reported average diesel prices below $2 since April 27, 2016.

AAA has indexed diesel prices at $2.84 for Monday, 43.4 cents more expensive than this time last year and 6 cents higher than a month ago.

In separate energy news, according to the New York Mercantile Exchange, light sweet crude (also known as West Texas Intermediate) for January delivery was trading at $57.65 at noon CDT on Monday, a 46-cent decrease from last Monday and a 71-cent decrease from its last settlement price. The price of Brent crude oil for February settlement was listed at $62.83, a $1.01 decrease from last Monday and a 90-cent decrease from its last settlement price.

According to Reuters, Monday’s drop in oil prices could be attributed to signs of more increases in U.S. production. However, declines were stunted by OPEC’s decision last week to extend the output cut deal throughout 2018.