The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended November 11, 2019. Data was released one day late in observance of Veterans Day. Gasoline and diesel prices both rose on a national average basis. Retail prices for gasoline rose by 1.0 cent/gallon for the week. National average prices for gasoline were 7.1 cents/gallon below where they were in the same week one year ago. On a national average basis, retail prices for diesel declined by 1.1 cents/gallon. National average prices for diesel were 24.4 cents/gallon lower than they were in the same week last year.
Futures Prices and Retail Price Outlook
During the week November 4-November 8, 2019, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures prices fell by $0.67/barrel (1.2%.) Gasoline futures prices fell by 1.59 cents/gallon (1.0%.) Diesel futures prices fell by 2.2 cents/gallon (1.13%.) Although the relationship between futures prices and retail prices is not immediate or one-for-one, retail prices are likely to decline in the coming week. Rally-collapse cycles have been common in futures markets. Last week brought a price rally based on optimism that tariffs would be rolled back in the U.S.-China trade war. However, the optimism was premature, and prices are retreating.
Retail Diesel Prices
For the current week ended November 11, retail diesel prices rose by 1.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.073/gallon. Retail diesel prices had been below the $3/gallon mark until the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. 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. During the five weeks of June including the week ended July 1st, diesel prices fell more substantially, declining by 10.9 cents/gallon. For the current week ended November 11th, diesel prices rose in all PADDs except for PADD 3, where prices remained flat. The national average price for the week was 24.4 cents/gallon below where it was during the same week last year.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices rose by 0.9 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.050/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices increased by 0.6 cents to average $3.034/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices edged up slightly by 0.1 cent to average $3.245/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 1.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.919/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 26.4 cents/gallon below their levels for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices rose by 1.7 cents to average $2.972/gallon. Prices were 29.0 cents/gallon below their level for the same week last year. PADD 2 joined PADD 3 during the week ended June 17 in having diesel prices fall below $3/gallon. These two PADDs remain the only ones with prices below the $3/gallon mark.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices were unchanged at an average of $2.795/gallon. PADD 3 typically has the lowest diesel prices among the PADDs. Prices were 29.0 cents lower than for the same week in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 3.7 cents to average $3.203/gallon. This was the largest price increase among the PADDs. PADD 4 prices were 17.5 cents lower than for the same week in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices rose by 1.2 cents to reach an average of $3.758/gallon. PADD 5 prices were 4.9 cents below their level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 2.2 cents to arrive at an average of $3.435/gallon. This price was 7.9 cents below the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose slightly by 0.3 cents to arrive at an average price of $4.014/gallon. Until the week ended June 24, California had been the only major market where diesel prices were above $4/gallon, where they had remained for nine weeks. Prices now have been above $4/gallon for the past two weeks. California diesel prices were 2.6 cents lower than they were at the same week last year.
Retail Gasoline Prices
U.S. retail gasoline prices rose by 1.0 cent to reach an average of $2.615/gallon during the week ended November 11th. Prices rose in PADDs 2, 3 and 4, while falling in PADDs 1 and 5. Retail prices for the current week were 7.1 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 fourteen weeks in a row, shedding a total of 66.6 cents per gallon. In the next seventeen weeks, prices marched back up by 66.0 cents/gallon. Prices came very close to the peak they hit in early October. However, the months of May and the June brought an easing of prices amounting to 23.3 cents per gallon. The week ended July 1 reversed that downward trend and sent prices up once again.
For the current week ended November 11th, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline eased by 0.2 cents to average $2.474/gallon. The average price was 14.7 cents/gallon below where it was during the same week last year. Within PADD 1, New England prices increased by 0.5 cents to average $2.535/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices rose by 1.0 cent to average $2.629/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market decreased by 1.0 cent to average $2.362/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices rose by 2.0 cents to average $2.436/gallon. PADD 2 prices for the current week were 7.6 cents/gallon lower than they were for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices rose by 3.2 cents to average $2.230/gallon. This was the largest price increase among the PADDs. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs, currently 35.3 cents/gallon below the average U.S. price. Prices for the week were 12.5 cents lower than for the same week last year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose by 2.8 cents to reach an average price of $2.819/gallon. This week’s prices were 7.2 cents lower than at the same time last year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices fell by 1.1 cents to settle at $3.591/gallon. This was the most significant price decline among the PADDs. Prices excluding California rose by 0.8 cents to average $3.192/gallon, which was 1.8 cents/gallon above last year’s price. California prices dropped by 3.2 cents to average $3.921/gallon. California prices had risen dramatically in late September and early October, hitting levels above $4/gallon. California prices were 33.9 cents per gallon above their levels from the same week last year. PADD 5 is the only PADD where prices are higher than they were one year ago.