Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended April 2, 2018. Gasoline and diesel prices continued to rise in all PADDs nationwide. At the national level, gasoline prices rose by 5.2 cents/gallon. Diesel prices rose by 3.2 cents per gallon.
Crude prices rose significantly during the week ended March 22, with futures prices for WTI crude rising by $3.65/b and closing the week at $65.88/b. However, the following week ended March 30 brought a crude price drop of $0.96/b, and WTI ended the week at $64.94/b. Product prices continued to climb nonetheless. As of the time of this writing, WTI futures crude prices have declined to approximately $63/b.
US crude inventories increased by 1.643 million barrels (mmbbls) during the week ended March 23rd. Product stockpiles were drawn down, with diesel inventories dropping 2.09 mmbbls, and gasoline inventories drawn down by 3.473 mmbbls.
US gasoline demand appeared to drop during the week ended March 23, down by 116 kbpd, following the prior week’s downward movement of 318 kbpd. Diesel product supplied jumped by 458 kbpd during the week.
For the current week ended April 2, diesel prices rose by 3.2 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.042/gallon. Until the week ended March 5th, US national average retail diesel prices had exceeded $3/gallon for seven consecutive weeks. Weak crude prices then drove diesel prices below the $3/gallon mark during the first three weeks of March. The past two weeks brought retail averages back above the $3/gallon mark.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices increased 2.8 cents during the week to average $3.066/gallon. In early January, PADD 1 joined PADD 5 in having diesel prices above $3/gallon. In February, however, diesel prices began to subside, dropping by 11.4 cents between the week ended February 5 and the week ended March 19. Within PADD 1, New England prices edged up by 0.2 cents to average $3.117/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices rose by 1.6 cents to average $3.233/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices increased by 4.0 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.938/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 46.1 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices rose by 2.8 cents to average $2.962/gallon. Prices were 48.1 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices increased by 2.8 cents to average $2.851/gallon. This price was 43.7 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices surpassed the $3/gallon mark by rising 5.3 cents to average $3.044/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 42.1 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by 4.9 cents to average $3.487/gallon. This price was 64.8 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 5.5 cents to average $3.202/gallon, which was 46.7 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose by 4.5 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.714/gallon. This price was 79.1 cents higher than last year’s price. Until January, PADD 5 had been the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon. Prices around the country climbed until the national retail average exceeded the $3/gallon mark as of the week ended January 15. Product prices then followed crude prices down subsided as crude oil prices fell in the middle of the first quarter. They have followed crude prices back up in mid- to late-March, but the past week’s drop in crude prices have not yet been reflected in product prices.
U.S. retail gasoline prices rose by 5.2 cents during the week ended April 2nd, to arrive at an average price of $2.700/gallon. Gasoline prices rose in all PADDs countrywide.
For the current week ended April 2, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline increased by 5.5 cents to $2.647/gallon. The average price was 34.4 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, prices increased by 5.1 cents in New England to an average of $2.638/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices rose by 4.6 cents to $2.744/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market increased by 6.3 cents, to an average price of $2.577/gallon. This was 34.2 cents higher than last year’s average price for the same week.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices rose by 5.0 cents, reaching an average price of $2.565/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 28.6 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices rose significantly by 4.7 cents to average $2.428/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 30.4 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices jumped by 7.1 cents to average $2.599/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 30.2 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 5.3 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.327/gallon. This was 47.4 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 typically has the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. During the thirteen weeks of 2018 to date, PADD 5 has been the only PADD where prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices increased by 5.2 cents, to an average of $2.958/gallon. This was 34.4 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, prices rose by 5.4 cents to arrive at an average pump price of $3.541/gallon. California prices were 54.9 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.