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 21, 2018. As noted in last week’s article, the EIA changed its statistical methodology for measuring motor gasoline prices as of the week ended May 14. The prices listed for the week ended May 14 were not directly comparable to the prices published for May 7. This week’s series now picks up with the weekly price comparisons.
Both gasoline and diesel prices continued to rise in all PADDs across the country. Gasoline prices rose by 5.0 cents and diesel prices increased by 3.8 cents at the national level. Diesel prices have risen for nine consecutive weeks.
The week ended May 18th brought a $0.74/b increase in WTI crude prices. WTI prices closed the week at $71.28/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 20 kbpd to an average of 10,723 kbpd during the week ended May 11. For the year-to-date, US output has expanded by 1.231 million barrels per day.
As was the case during the week ended May 4, US crude and product stockpiles were drawn down across the board during the week ended May 11. Crude inventories fell by 1.404 mmbbls, gasoline inventories fell by 3.790 mmbbls, and diesel stocks were drawn down slightly by 0.092 mmbbls.
For the current week ended May 21st, diesel prices increased by 3.8 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.277/gallon. Prices rose in all PADDs across the country. National average prices have exceeded $3/gallon for nine consecutive weeks.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices increased by 3.5 cents to arrive at an average of $3.271/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 3.1 cents to average $3.282/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 4.0 cents to average $3.420/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 3.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.163/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 68.3 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices rose by 4.3 cents to average $3.218/gallon. Prices were 75.0 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices increased by 4.3 cents to average $3.055/gallon. This price was 67.1 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. Until the week ended May 14, 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 3.2 cents to average $3.348/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 71.9 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by 3.4 cents to average $3.765/gallon. This price was 93.7 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 2.1 cents to average $3.503/gallon. This price was 77.8 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose 4.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.973/gallon—106.1 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 week ended May 14th, all PADD-level averages exceeded the $3/gallon mark. California prices are approaching the $4/gallon mark.
U.S. retail gasoline prices increased by 5.0 cents to reach an average of $2.923/gallon during the week ended May 21. Prices rose in all PADDs nationwide.
For the current week ended May 21, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline increased by 4.0 cents to average $2.860/gallon. The average price was 53.3 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 7.1 cents to average $2.945/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices increased by 5.3 cents to average $2.997/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market rose by 2.5 cents to average $2.751/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 6.9 cents to reach an average price of $2.851/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 53.6 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices rose by 6.3 cents to average $2.676/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 52.7 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose 4.6 cents to average $2.968/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 58.7 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 3.0 cents to reach an average of $3.435/gallon. This was 50.2 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 continues to have 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 rose by 4.2 cents to average $3.208/gallon. This was 55.2 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices increased by 1.9 cents to average $3.618/gallon. California prices were 52.4 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.