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 31, 2018. Retail prices for both fuels continued to fall. On a national average basis, gasoline prices dropped by 5.5 cents/gallon, while diesel prices fell by 2.9 cents/gallon. Gasoline prices have fallen drastically since October, reaching a point where the national average price is below where it was one year ago.

Crude oil, gasoline and diesel prices continued to fall in futures markets, ending the year 2018 on weak footing. During the week ended December 28, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures prices declined by $0.12/b. Gasoline futures prices recovered by 1.47 cents/gallon. Diesel futures prices fell by 6.96 cents/gallon. As of the time of this writing, crude and product futures prices are declining.

For the current week ended December 31, diesel prices dropped by 2.9 cents to an average price of $3.048/gallon. This was the eleventh consecutive week that retail diesel prices have fallen. During these eleven weeks, the price decline has amounted to 34.6 cents/gallon. Prices fell in all PADDs. The national average price was 7.5 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.

In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices fell by 2.2 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.110/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices declined slightly by 0.3 cents to average $3.234/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices fell by 2.4 cents to average $3.286/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices fell by 2.2 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.965/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 13 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices dropped by 3.7 cents to average $2.907/gallon. PADD 2 joins PADD 3 in having diesel prices below $3/gallon. PADD 2 is now the first PADD where average retail diesel prices have fallen below their levels of last year. Prices were 2.8 cents/gallon below their level for the same week last year.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices declined by 2.8 cents to average $2.841/gallon. Five weeks ago, PADD 3 became the first PADD where retail diesel prices fell below the $3/gallon mark, and this week, PADD 2 has joined PADD 3 in this distinction. Prices were 6.7 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices dropped by 3.9 cents to average $3.071/gallon. This was the largest price decrease among the five PADDs. PADD 4 prices were 9.0 cents higher than in the prior year.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices fell by 2.6 cents to average $3.562/gallon. This price was 20.1 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California fell by 3.5 cents to reach an average of $3.246/gallon. This price was 17.3 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices decreased by 1.9 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.813/gallon. California diesel prices were 22.3 cents above last year’s price.

U.S. retail gasoline prices dropped by 5.5 cents to average $2.266/gallon during the week ended December 31. Prices fell in all PADDs. The national average price was 25.4 cents per gallon lower than it was one year ago. Prices in all PADDs except for PADD 5 now are below their levels of one year ago. Retail prices for gasoline have spiraled down for the past twelve weeks, slashing 63.7 cents/gallon off the average retail price.

For the current week ended December 31, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline dropped by 4.6 cents to average $2.251/gallon. The average price was 24.1 cents below last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices fell by 3.9 cents to average $2.422/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices declined by 4.0 cents to average $2.420/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market dropped by 5.2 cents to average $2.097/gallon.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices dropped by 7.6 cents to reach an average price of $2.081/gallon. This was the largest price drop among the PADDs. Seven weeks ago, PADD 2 became the first and only PADD where gasoline pump prices were lower than they were one year ago. PADD 1 and 3 joined PADD 2 in this distinction five weeks ago. PADD 4 joins by a fraction of a cent this week. PADD 2 prices for the current week were an astonishing 44.8 cents/gallon lower than they were for the same week last year.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 5.5 cents to average $1.926/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Two years ago, in December 2016, PADD 3 gasoline prices were below the $2/gallon level. PADD 3 prices once again are below this threshold. Prices for the week were 31.2 cents lower than for the same week in 2017.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices dropped by 5.6 cents to arrive at an average of $2.429/gallon. PADD 4 now joins PADDs 1, 2, and 3 in having prices lower than they were one year ago, with prices 0.8 cents lower than at the same time in 2017.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices fell by 3.1 cents to arrive at an average of $3.053/gallon. PADD 5 prices were 7.8 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. It is the only PADD where prices are higher than they were one year ago. PADD 5 continues to have the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs, and it is the only PADD where average retail gasoline prices remain in excess of $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices declined by 2.6 cents to average $2.851/gallon. This was 17.3 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices fell by 3.4 cents to average $3.219/gallon. California prices were 7.1 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.