Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended May 14th, 2018. Please note that the EIA has changed its statistical methodology for measuring motor gasoline prices. The prices listed for the week ended May 14th are not directly comparable to the prices published for May 7. For reference only, gasoline prices were 2.8 cents higher than in the prior week’s report. Details are available on the EIA website.
Diesel prices continued to rise in all PADDs across the country, up strongly by 6.8 cents at the national level. Diesel prices have risen for eight consecutive weeks.
The week ended May 14 brought a $0.85/b increase in WTI crude prices. The week was significant because WTI prices breached the $70/b level, with the week closing at $70.70/b. WTI forward prices have not been above $70/b since November 2014, approximately three and a half years ago.
US weekly crude production rose by 84 kbpd to an average of 10,703 kbpd during the week ended May 4. This was the second-largest weekly increase in 2017. Production for April 2017 averaged 10,568 kbpd. For the year-to-date, US output has expanded by 1.211 million barrels per day.
US crude and product stockpiles were drawn down across the board during the week ended May 4. Crude inventories fell by 2.197 mmbbls, gasoline inventories fell by 2.174 mmbbls, and diesel stocks were drawn down by 3.791 mmbbls.
For the current week ended May 14, diesel prices surged by 6.8 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.239/gallon. Prices rose in all PADDs across the country. National average prices have exceeded $3/gallon for eight consecutive weeks.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices increased by 5.8 cents to arrive at an average of $3.236/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 3.6 cents to average $3.251/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 4.4 cents to average $3.380/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 7.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.132/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 64.1 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices jumped 8.3 cents to average $3.175/gallon. Prices were 69.6 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices increased by 5.7 cents to average $3.012/gallon. This price was 63 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. Until this week, PADD 3 had been the only market where diesel prices had remained below $3/gallon.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 6.7 cents to average $3.316/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 69.0 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by 6.9 cents to average $3.731/gallon. This price was 90.7 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 7.3 cents to average $3.482/gallon. This price was 75.4 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose 6.6 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.929/gallon—102.7 cents above last year’s price. California is the only state where diesel prices are more than a dollar per gallon higher than they were last year. Until January, PADD 5 had been the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon. As of the past week, all PADD-level averages now exceed the $3/gallon mark.
U.S. retail gasoline prices averaged $2.873/gallon during the week ended May 14. As noted, a change in methodology makes the weekly prices not directly comparable with prices during the week ended May 7. The weekly chart and table are provided here for informational purposes only with that caveat.
For the current week ended May 14, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline averaged $2.82/gallon. The average price was 50.0 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices averaged $2.874/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices averaged $2.944/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market averaged $2.726/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices averaged $2.782/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 51.4 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices averaged $2.613/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 48.4 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices averaged $2.922/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 53.8 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices averaged $3.405/gallon. This was 53.3 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 typically has the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. During year to date, PADD 5 has been the only PADD where retail gasoline prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices averaged $3.166/gallon. This was 52.3 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices averaged $3.599/gallon. California prices were 59.4 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.