Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended September 3, 2018. Data release was delayed by one day in observance of Labor Day. On a national average basis, gasoline prices declined slightly by 0.3 cents/gallon. Diesel prices rose by 2.6 cents/gallon.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices have rebounded by $4.27/b over the two weeks from August 20 through August 31. As of the time of this writing, however, WTI forward prices have fallen from recent highs. This is coming about largely because of the easing of supply concerns, as Tropical Storm Gordon weakens, oil inventories appear more than ample, and trade war fears remain. WTI prices currently have ebbed below $69/b once again.
For the current week ended September 3, diesel prices rose 2.6 cents to reach an average price of $3.252/gallon. Prices increased in all PADDs save PADD 4, where prices were unchanged. The national average price was 49.4 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices rose by 1.6 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.235/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices increased slightly by 0.3 cents to average $3.270/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 1.4 cents to average $3.399/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 2.0 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.114/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 45.0 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices increased by 3.8 cents to average $3.191/gallon. This was the largest price increase among the five PADDs. Prices were 48.4 cents/gallon above their level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices rose by 3.1 cents to average $3.035/gallon. This price was 42.0 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. Until the previous week, 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 remained unchanged at $3.364/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 56.6 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices rose by 2.3 cents to average $3.742/gallon. This price was 69.8 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California increased by 3.6 cents to average $3.469/gallon. This price was 53.8 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose by 1.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.959/gallon. During the week of June 4, California prices had topped the $4/gallon mark, and if crude prices continue to rise, they may reach this level once again. California diesel prices were 82.4 cents above last year’s price.
U.S. retail gasoline prices decreased modestly by 0.3 cents to average $2.824/gallon during the week ended September 3. Prices fell in PADDs 2 and 3, while rising in PADDs 1, 4 and 5. The national average price was 14.5 cents per gallon higher than it was one year ago.
For the current week ended September 3, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline rose by 1.1 cents to average $2.775/gallon. The average price was 5.2 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 0.4 cents to average $2.855/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices rose by 0.6 cents to average $2.909/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market increased by 1.6 cents to average $2.669/gallon.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices decreased by 2.9 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.737/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 19.2 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices fell by 2.0 cents to average $2.549/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 4.3 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose by 1.3 cents to average $3.007/gallon. PADD 4 is the first PADD to join PADD 5 in having prices over $3/gallon. Prices were 40.1 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices rose by 1.9 cents to arrive at an average of $3.329/gallon. This was 31.2 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 continues to have the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. Until this week, PADD 5 had been the only PADD where retail gasoline prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices rose by 1.3 cents to average $3.123/gallon. This was 36.0 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, pump prices increased by 2.7 cents to average $3.498/gallon. California prices were 33.4 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.