The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended June 3, 2019. Gasoline prices fell for the fourth week in a row. Diesel prices also declined. On a national average basis, retail prices for both gasoline and diesel fell by 1.5 cents/gallon. National average prices for gasoline were 13.3 cents/gallon below where they were in the same week one year ago. National average prices for diesel were 14.9 cents/gallon lower than they were in the same week last year.
Futures Prices and Retail Price Outlook
During the week May 28-May 31, 2019, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures prices dropped by $2.48/b (4.2%.) Gasoline futures prices dropped sharply by 9.01 cents/gallon (4.6%.) Diesel futures prices also fell significantly by 6.3 cents/gallon (3.183%.) Although the relationship between futures market prices and retail prices is not immediate and one-for-one, the most recent trend in futures prices suggests that gasoline and diesel retail prices will continue to fall in the coming week. However, regional markets should watch for increases in ethanol prices and gasoline price volatility, because of severe weather. U.S. corn crop plantings are behind schedule, and ethanol production and distribution is expected to be heavily impacted this year.
Retail Diesel Prices
For the current week ended June 3, retail diesel prices decreased by 1.5 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.136/gallon. Between mid-October and late-January, retail diesel prices fell for fourteen consecutive weeks. During those fourteen weeks, the price decline totaled 42.9 cents/gallon. From February through April, diesel prices crept back up by 20.4 cents/gallon. The month of May brought a modest reversal in the upward trend in diesel prices. For the current week ended June 3, diesel prices fell in all PADDs. The national average price for the week was 14.9 cents/gallon below where it was during the same week last year.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices fell by 1.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.153/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices declined by 0.6 cents to average $3.219/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices fell by 1.6 cents to average $3.344/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices fell by 0.9 cents to reach an average price of $3.011/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 12.9 cents/gallon below their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices decreased by 1.2 cents to average $3.026/gallon. Prices were 19.8 cents/gallon below their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices fell by 1.8 cents to average $2.875/gallon. PADD 3 typically has the lowest diesel prices, and it remains the only PADD where retail diesel prices are below the $3/gallon mark. Prices were 18.0 cents lower than for the same week in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices fell by 1.8 cents to settle at an average of $3.163/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 19.6 cents lower than for the same week in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices fell by 2.2 cents to average $3.760/gallon. PADD 5 prices were 2.4 cents below their level from last year. Prices excluding California decreased by 1.8 cents to arrive at an average of $3.320/gallon. This price was 18.8 cents below the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices fell by 2.5 cents to arrive at an average price of $4.109/gallon. California is the only market for which prices have risen above $4/gallon, and prices have remained above $4/gallon for the past seven weeks, despite the recent price decline. California diesel prices were 10.6 cents higher than they were at the same week last year.
Retail Gasoline Prices
U.S. retail gasoline prices fell by 1.5 cents to average $2.807/gallon during the week ended June 3rd. Prices fell in PADDs 1, 3, and 5, while they rose in PADDs 2 and 4. Retail prices for the current week were 13.3 cents per gallon lower than they were one year ago. Gasoline prices hit a peak of $2.903/gallon during the week ended October 8, 2018. Prices then slid downward for 14 weeks in a row, shedding a total of 66.6 cents per gallon. In the next 17 weeks, prices marched back up by 66.0 cents/gallon. Prices came very close to the peak they hit in early October, before the month of May brought an easing of prices. Flooding is disrupting corn planting and ethanol production and distribution, which is contributing to significant variations in regional gasoline prices.
For the current week ended June 3rd, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline fell by 3.2 cents to average $2.664/gallon. The average price was 21.5 cents/gallon below where it was during the same week last year. Within PADD 1, New England prices declined by 3.2 cents to average $2.777/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices fell by 3.1 cents to average $2.837/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market dropped by 3.4 cents to average $2.529/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices rose by 3.4 cents to reach an average price of $2.746/gallon. PADD 2 prices for the current week were 10.1 cents/gallon lower than they were for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices dropped by 4.9 cents to average $2.473/gallon. This was the largest price drop among the PADDs. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 30.1 cents lower than for the same week last year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices edged up slightly by 0.1 cent to arrive at an average price of $2.980/gallon. Prices had been rising rapidly in PADD 4. This week’s prices were 1.5 cents lower than at the same time last year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices dropped by 3.6 cents to arrive at an average of $3.596/gallon. PADD 5 continues to have the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. Excluding California, West Coast prices fell by 2.2 cent to average $3.313/gallon. This price was 6.3 cents higher than at the same time last year. In California, pump prices fell significantly by 4.8 cents to average $3.830/gallon. California prices are now 19.8 cents per gallon above their levels from the same week last year.