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 January 7, 2019. Retail prices for both fuels continued to fall. On a national average basis, gasoline prices fell by 2.9 cents/gallon, while diesel prices fell by 3.5 cents/gallon. Gasoline prices have fallen drastically since October, and the national average price is significantly below where it was one year ago.

Crude oil, gasoline and diesel prices ended the year 2018 on weak footing. The first week of 2019 brought some price recovery in futures markets. During the week ended January 4, 2019, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures prices recovered by $2.74/b. Gasoline futures prices recovered by 5.49 cents/gallon. Diesel futures prices jumped by 11.53 cents/gallon. As of the time of this writing, crude and product futures prices are stable, holding their recovered value.

For the current week ended January 7, retail diesel prices dropped by 3.5 cents to an average price of $3.013/gallon. This was the twelfth consecutive week that retail diesel prices have fallen. During these twelve weeks, the price decline has amounted to 38.1 cents/gallon. Prices fell in all PADDs. The national average price was a mere 1.7 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.

In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices fell by 4.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.069/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices declined by 1.8 cents to average $3.216/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices fell by 4.4 cents to average $3.242/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices also fell by 4.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.921/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 4.4cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices dropped by 3.8 cents to average $2.869/gallon. Last week, PADD 2 joined PADD 3 in having diesel prices below $3/gallon. PADD 2 also became the first PADD where average retail diesel prices fell below their levels of last year. Prices were 7.8 cents/gallon below their level for the same week last year.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices declined by 2.0 cents to average $2.821/gallon. Six weeks ago, PADD 3 became the first PADD where retail diesel prices fell below the $3/gallon mark, and last week, PADD 2 joined PADD 3 in this distinction. Prices were 3.6 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices dropped by 4.5 cents to average $3.026/gallon. This was the largest price decrease among the five PADDs. PADD 4 prices were 5.2 cents higher than in the prior year.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices fell by 3.4 cents to average $3.528/gallon. This price was 13.4 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California dropped significantly by 6.6 cents to reach an average of $3.18/gallon. This price was 9.3 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices decreased slightly by 0.8 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.805/gallon. California diesel prices were 16.7 cents above last year’s price.

U.S. retail gasoline prices fell by 2.9 cents to average $2.237/gallon during the week ended January 7th. Prices fell in all PADDs. The national average price was 28.5 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 thirteen weeks, slashing 66.6 cents/gallon off the average retail price.

For the current week ended January 7, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline dropped by 3.5 cents to average $2.216/gallon. The average price was 28.4 cents below last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices fell by 4.4 cents to average $2.378/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices declined by 2.4 cents to average $2.396/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market dropped by 4.2 cents to average $2.055/gallon.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices edged down slightly by 0.2 cents to reach an average price of $2.003/gallon. Eight weeks ago, PADD 2 became the first and only PADD where gasoline pump prices were lower than they were one year ago. PADDs 1 and 3 joined PADD 2 in this distinction six weeks ago. PADD 4 joined last week. PADD 5 prices are only a hair above where they were a year ago. PADD 2 prices for the current week were a massive 42.5 cents/gallon lower than they were for the same week last year.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 4.0 cents to average $1.886/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. A little over 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 35.6 cents lower than for the same week last year.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices dropped by 5.6 cents to arrive at an average of $2.373/gallon. This was the largest price drop among the PADDs. PADD 4 last week joined PADDs 1, 2, and 3 in having prices lower than they were one year ago, with prices 6.8 cents lower than at the same time last year.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices fell by 4.1 cents to arrive at an average of $3.012/gallon. PADD 5 prices were a mere 0.1 cents higher than at the same time a year ago, leading to suspense of whether the coming week will bring another price decline. It is the only PADD where prices are higher than they were one year ago, and only by a hairsbreadth. 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 dropped by 4.8 cents to average $2.803/gallon. This was 11.6 cents higher than at the same time last year. In California, pump prices dropped by 3.6 cents to average $3.183/gallon. California prices have now fallen to 1.6 cents per gallon below their levels from the same week last year.