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 August 20th, 2018. Prices for both fuels fell on a national average basis. Gasoline prices fell by 2.2 cents/gallon. Diesel prices declined by 1.0 cent/gallon.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices fell significantly by $1.87/b over the course of the week from August 13 through August 17. Prices were forced down by events such as the collapse of the Turkish Lira and weakness in other emerging markets, by concerns over the U.S.-China trade war, and by a significant buildup of oil inventories in the U.S. As of the time of this writing, however, WTI forward prices are recovering, and they are approaching $68/b once again. At their lows, WTI prices fell below $65/b. Current prices are $67.60/b. Gasoline and diesel futures prices also are in a period of recovery.
For the current week ended August 20th, diesel prices shed one penny to settle at an average price of $3.207/gallon. Prices decreased in all PADDs. The national average price was 61.1 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices fell by 1.2 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.207/gallon. This was the largest price decrease among the five PADDs. Within PADD 1, New England prices decreased by 0.4 cents to average $3.261/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices declined by 0.7 cents to average $3.380/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices dropped by 1.5 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.076/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 59.0 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices dropped by one penny to average $3.129/gallon. Prices were 56.2 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices decreased by 0.9 cents to average $2.981/gallon. This price was 57.3 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. PADD 3 is the only market where diesel prices are below $3/gallon.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices declined by 0.9 cents to average $3.349/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 63.5 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices fell by 0.8 cents to average $3.706/gallon. This price was 82.3 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California decreased slightly by 0.2 cents to average $3.423/gallon. This price was 63.7 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices dropped by 1.3 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.929/gallon. During the week of June 4, California prices had topped the $4/gallon mark. California diesel prices were 96.8 cents above last year’s price.
U.S. retail gasoline prices dropped by 2.2 cents to average $2.821/gallon during the week ended August 20. Prices fell in all PADDs except for PADD 4, the Rocky Mountains market. The national average price was 46.1 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.
For the current week ended August 20th, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline fell by 2.6 cents to average $2.777/gallon. This was the largest price drop among the PADDs. The average price was 47.4 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices fell by 1.9 cents to average $2.863/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices fell by 1.7 cents to average $2.910/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market dropped significantly by 3.3 cents to average $2.670/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices decreased by 1.8 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.730/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 48.1 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 1.8 cents to average $2.568/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 45.0 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose by 1.9 cents to average $2.963/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 50.9 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices dropped by 2.2 cents to arrive at an average of $3.307/gallon. This was 42.1 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 continues to have the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. During the year to date, PADD 5 has been the only PADD where retail gasoline prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices fell by 1.4 cents to average $3.118/gallon. This was 47.7 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices dropped significantly by 2.9 cents to average $3.462/gallon. California prices were 43.4 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.