Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended December 26, 2016. Both gasoline and diesel prices continued to rise, marking the fourth consecutive week of price hikes following the OPEC meeting on November 30. Additional support came after the December 10 meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers, when the non-OPEC 11 committed to a reduction in output of 0.588 mmbpd. As 2016 comes to a close, the oil complex is well above earlier price predictions, which for the most part anticipated that crude oil would reach $50 per barrel (/b) by the end of the year. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices have risen above $53/b, and gasoline and diesel prices have followed.
For the week ended December 26, diesel prices rose by 1.3 cents (cts) to an average price of $2.54/gallon.
PADD 1 retail diesel prices rose 1.4cts to $2.573/gallon. In New England, prices rose 2.4cts to $2.611/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices rose 2cts to average $2.687/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose 0.8cts to average $2.478/gallon. Overall PADD 1 prices were 29.4cts/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices increased 1.0 cent to average $2.489/gallon. This price was 32.6cts/gallon above its level for the same week in 2015.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices rose 1.1cts to $2.421/gallon. This price was 28.1cts higher than in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices increased 2.1cts to $2.516/gallon. This price was 28.9cts higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, gasoline pump prices increased by 1.9cts to $2.807/gallon. This price was 34cts above its level last year. Prices excluding California rose 2.2cts to $2.727/gallon, which was a massive 43.5cts above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose 1.7cts to $2.871/gallon, 26.2cts higher than last year’s price.
U.S. retail gasoline prices rose 4.5cts to $2.309/gallon for the week ended December 26. This price was 27.5cts higher than for the same week in 2015.
In the East Coast PADD 1, prices for gasoline rose 2.3cts to $2.313/gallon. This price was 29.8cts higher than last year’s price. Prices increased 3cts in New England to $2.311/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices rose by 3.8cts to $2.416/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market increased 1.1cts to bring prices to an average of $2.237/gallon, 29.4cts higher than last year’s average price.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, gasoline prices surged 8.8cts to average $2.28/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were a whopping 40.7cts higher than they were one year ago. Part of the price hike was attributed to refinery problems, including the breakdown of BP Whiting’s 65,000 barrels per day (bpd) catalytic reformer on December 20. This unit was successfully restarted on December 27, so it was out for the full week covered in this price survey.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, prices increased 2.7cts to average $2.08/gallon. Prices for the week were 32cts higher than for the same week in 2015. PADD 3 had been the last market with gasoline prices below $2/gallon, but the successful conclusion of the OPEC meeting in November drove prices up.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 region, gasoline prices rose by 4cts to average $2.175/gallon. This price was 20.3cts higher than at the same time in 2015.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail prices rose 2.9cts to an average price of $2.592/gallon. This was 3.8cts lower than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 was the only PADD where the current retail price remained below the retail price for the same week last year. Excluding California, prices rose 1.8cts to an average of $2.395/gallon. This was 10.1cts higher than at the same time in 2015.
California prices increased 3.6cts to reach an average pump price of $2.706/gallon, 11.9cts lower than last year’s price for the same week. Los Angeles prices rose 4.9cts to 2.775/gallon. This price was 27.8cts lower than the price for the same week in 2015. San Francisco pump prices rose by 2.7cts to average $2.742/gallon, 0.3cts above last year’s price. Seattle prices increased 2.5cts to average $2.602/gallon, 11.3cts higher than prices one year ago.