Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi

 

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended May 28, 2018, with one day of delay in observance of Memorial Day.

Gasoline prices continued to rise in all PADDs across the country. Diesel prices rose in all PADDs save PADD 3. Gasoline prices rose by 3.9 cents and diesel prices increased by 1.1 cents at the national level. Diesel prices have risen for ten consecutive weeks.

The week ended May 25 brought a sharp drop (-$3.59/b) in WTI crude prices. WTI prices closed the week at $67.88/b, after spending the prior two weeks above $70/b. The last time WTI prices had been in the 70s was November 2014. If the retreat in crude prices persists, a relaxation in product prices is likely in the coming week.

US weekly crude production crept up by a mere 2 kbpd to an average of 10,725 kbpd during the week ended May 11. For the year-to-date, US output has expanded by 1.233 million barrels per day.

US crude stockpiles rose by 5.778 mmbbls during the week ended May 18. Gasoline inventories rose by 1.883 mmbbls. Diesel stocks were drawn down by 0.951 mmbbls.

For the current week ended May 28th, diesel prices increased by 1.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.288/gallon. Prices rose in all PADDs except for PADD 3, the US Gulf Coast region. National average prices have exceeded $3/gallon for ten consecutive weeks.

In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices increased by 1.6 cents to arrive at an average of $3.287/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 2.5 cents to average $3.307/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 2.3 cents to average $3.443/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 1.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.174/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 67.9 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices rose by 1.2 cents to average $3.230/gallon. Prices were 71.8 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices edged down by 0.1 cents to average $3.054/gallon. This price was 63.1 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. Until the week ended May 14, PADD 3 had been the only market where diesel prices had remained below $3/gallon.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 0.5 cents to average $3.353/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 69.2 cents higher than in the prior year.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by 1.9 cents to average $3.784/gallon. This price was 94.1 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 1.1 cents to average $3.514/gallon. This price was 77.9 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose 2.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.997/gallon—106.6 cents above last year’s price. California is the only state where diesel prices are more than a dollar per gallon higher than they were last year. Until January, PADD 5 had been the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon. As of the week ended May 14th, all PADD-level averages exceeded the $3/gallon mark. California prices are approaching the $4/gallon mark.

U.S. retail gasoline prices increased by 3.9 cents to reach an average of $2.962/gallon during the week ended May 28. Prices rose in all PADDs nationwide. The national average price was 55.6 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.

For the current week ended May 28, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline increased by 5.0 cents to average $2.910/gallon. The average price was 56.9 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 3.5 cents to average $2.980/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices increased by 3.0 cents to average $3.027/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market rose by 6.7 cents to average $2.818/gallon.

In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 3.0 cents to reach an average price of $2.881/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 58.0 cents higher than they were one year ago.

In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices rose by 4.5 cents to average $2.721/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 56.6 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.

In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose 2.3 cents to average $2.991/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 56.9 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.

In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 2.8 cents to reach an average of $3.463/gallon. This was 50.4 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 continues to have the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. During year to date, PADD 5 has been the only PADD where retail gasoline prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices rose by 4.0 cents to average $3.248/gallon. This was 58.0 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices increased by 1.8 cents to average $3.636/gallon. California prices were 50.9 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.