Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended November 20, 2017. At the national level, gasoline prices decreased 2.4 cents per gallon, while diesel prices eased slightly by 0.3 cents per gallon. Gasoline prices declined in all PADDs outside of the Rocky Mountains PADD 4, where prices remained constant. Diesel prices were a mix, rising and falling slightly from PADD to PADD.
After a five-week upsurge in crude prices that saw WTI prices topping $57/b, WTI prices finally receded during the week ended November 17. WTI prices are currently in the range of $56.25-$56.75/b. Crude and gasoline inventories showed a build during the week ended November 10, weighing on prices. According to the EIA, crude inventories rose by 1.854 million barrels last week, gasoline inventories rose by 0.894 mmbbls, and diesel inventories fell by 0.799 mmbbls. Apparent demand for gasoline fell by 324 kbpd during the week, and apparent demand for diesel fell by 457 kbpd. Supply remained abundant, however. The EIA reported that U.S. crude production continued to increase, rising by 25 kbpd during the week. An upswing in fuel demand is expected for the current Thanksgiving holiday week.
For the current week ended November 20, diesel prices declined by 0.3 cent to arrive at an average price of $2.912/gallon. Until this mild decline, diesel prices had been rising more or less steadily since August. Between the week ended August 7 and the week ended November 20, U.S. diesel prices at the pump rose by a hefty 33.1 cents per gallon.
PADD 1 retail diesel prices rose by 1.2 cents to $2.896/gallon. Within the PADD, New England prices rose by 1.2 cents to average $2.862/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 3.7 cents, to an average of $3.055/gallon. This submarket last week joined PADD 5 in having diesel prices above $3/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices fell by 0.6 cents to average $2.789/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 45.4 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices fell by 1.1 cents to average $2.873/gallon. Prices were 51.7 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices decreased by 0.8 cents to average $2.689/gallon. This price was 39.8 cents higher than in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 1.1 cents to $3.003/gallon. PADD 4 joined PADD 5 in having diesel prices above $3/gallon. This price was 54.8 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail prices dropped by 1.2 cents to reach an average of $3.378/gallon. This price was 64.8 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California fell by 1.3 cents to $3.107/gallon, which was 47.0 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices receded by 1.1 cents to an average price of $3.599/gallon, following the major price surge caused by the November 1 tax hike. This price was 79.5 cents higher than last year’s price. PADD 5 had been the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon, but this past week, PADD 4 prices also topped the $3/gallon mark.
U.S. retail gasoline prices dropped by 2.4 cents for the week ended November 20, to arrive at an average price of $2.568/gallon.
For the current week ended November 20, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline fell by 2.0 cents to $2.526/gallon. The average price was 35.4 cents higher than last year’s price. Prices eased by 0.7 cents in New England to $2.593/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices declined by 1.2 cents to $2.646/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market dropped by 3.1 cents, to an average price of $2.415/gallon. This was 34.0 cents higher than last year’s average price for the same week.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices decreased by 2.8 cents to settle at an average price of $2.497/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 48.3 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 1.7 cents to average $2.285/gallon. PADD 3 has the lowest average price among the five PADDs. Prices for the week were 36.7 cents higher than for the same week in 2016.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices were unchanged at $2.542/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 35.7 cents higher than at the same time in 2016.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices dropped by 3.3 cents to average $3.051/gallon. This was 46.0 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 typically has the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs, and its retail gasoline prices have been back above $3/gallon for the past three weeks. Excluding California, West Coast prices rose slightly by 0.2 cents to an average of $2.758/gallon. This was 33.6 cents higher than at the same time in 2016. In California, prices dropped by 5.3 cents, arriving at an average pump price of $3.222/gallon. California prices were 53.2 cents per gallon above their levels last year.