Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended October 16, 2017. At the national level, gasoline prices fell by 1.5 cents/gallon. Diesel prices rose by 1.1 cents/gallon. Gasoline prices declined in all PADDs except for PADD 2, the Midwest market. Diesel prices rose in all PADDs nationwide.
During the week ended October 6, crude inputs to refining bounced back by 229 kbpd, after dropping by 145 kbpd the prior week. Apparent fuel demand was flat overall, with growth in gasoline and jet fuel offsetting a decline in diesel use.
U.S. crude production fell by 81 kbpd during the week ended October 6. The active rig count in the U.S. had fallen by 4 (2 oil rigs and 2 gas rigs) during that week. For the week ended October 13, Baker Hughes reported that the rig count fell once again, with five oil rigs and two gas rigs going inactive. Crude prices have strengthened significantly during the current week, however, reducing the likelihood of a continued downward slide.
For the current week ended October 16, diesel prices rose by 1.1 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.787/gallon. Diesel prices were robust over the summer, rising steadily in August and September. Prices have been more stable in October.
PADD 1 retail diesel prices increased by 0.4 cents to $2.797/gallon. New England prices fell by 0.4 cents to average $2.747/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices rose by 0.7 cents, to an average of $2.926/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices edged up by 0.2 cents to average $2.714/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 32.5 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices increased by 1.9 cents to average $2.757/gallon. Prices were 29.9 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices rose by 1.3 cents to average $2.612/gallon. This price was 25.5 cents higher than in the previous year.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 3.0 cents to $2.886/gallon. This was the largest price hike among the five PADDs. This price was 34.0 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by a tenth of a cent to an average of $3.089/gallon. This price was 34.7 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 1.0 cents to $3.003/gallon, which was 36.8 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices fell by 0.7 cents to an average price of $3.159/gallon, 33.1 cents higher than last year’s price. PADD 5 typically has the highest fuel prices in the country, and it remains the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon.
U.S. retail gasoline prices fell by 1.5 cents for the week ended October 16th, to arrive at an average price of $2.489/gallon. Hurricane Harvey induced a 28 cents/gallon price spike during the week ended September 4, and gasoline prices remained high for the next two weeks or so. Over the past five weeks, 17.2 cents of this price spike have been reversed. While seasonal demand is expected to wane in coming weeks, crude prices have risen, possibly counteracting the downward pressure on prices.
For the current week ended October 16, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline dropped significantly by 5.2 cents to $2.47/gallon. The average price was 23.3 cents higher than last year’s price. Prices decreased by 2.7 cents in New England to $2.580/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices dropped by 4.0 cents to $2.561/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market plummeted by 6.8 cents, to an average price of $2.369/gallon. This was 15.3 cents higher than last year’s average price for the same week.
The Midwest PADD 2 market was the only PADD where retail gasoline prices rose during the week, jumping by 4.2 cents to average $2.375/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 22.0 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 5.4 cents to average $2.262/gallon. This was the largest price drop among the five PADDs. PADD 3 has the lowest average price among the five PADDs. Prices for the week were 21.9 cents higher than for the same week in 2016.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices declined by 1.6 cents, to average $2.526/gallon. This price was 25.7 cents higher than at the same time in 2016.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices decreased by 0.9 cents to average $2.938/gallon. This was 25.9 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 had been above $3/gallon until the past three weeks of October. Excluding California, West Coast prices fell by 1.4 cents to an average of $2.699/gallon. This was 23.8 cents higher than at the same time in 2016. In California, prices declined by 0.6 cents, arriving at an average pump price of $3.077/gallon. California was the only state to have average prices reported at above $3 per gallon.