Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended March 6, 2017. Prices for both fuels rose during the week, though diesel prices rose only slightly, and not in all PADDs.
For the current week ended March 6th, diesel prices rose slightly by 0.2 cents (cts) to an average price of $2.579/gallon.
PADD 1 retail diesel prices declined 0.2cts to $2.633/gallon. In New England, prices fell 1.2cts to $2.646/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices rose by 0.8cts to average $2.78/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices declined by 0.8cts to average $2.525/gallon. Overall PADD 1 prices were 55.6cts/gallon above their prices for the same week last year. Phillips 66 is on schedule to restart its 238 kbpd Bayway, New Jersey, refinery by mid-March, including its diesel hydrotreater.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices rose 0.3cts to average $2.502/gallon. This price was 51.9cts/gallon above its level for the same week last year.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3, retail diesel prices declined 0.4cts to $2.429/gallon. This price was 52.2cts higher than in the previous year. Motiva announced that it would be shutting down its hydrocracker and cutting crude runs at its 230 kbpd Convent, Louisiana, refinery for a period of around four weeks. This is to finalize repairs on a fire-damaged section that has been closed since August. Valero’s 125 kbpd Meraux, Louisiana, refinery and 47 kbpd hydrocracker remain at low throughput during repairs after a fire and explosion. Valero’s 225 kbpd Texas City, Texas, refinery came back online.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices jumped 4.3cts to $2.625/gallon. This price was 69.8cts higher than in the prior year. Prices remain high because of reduced crude runs caused by the closure of Plains All American Pipeline’s Wahsatch Pipeline. Utilization is slightly down at Tesoro’s 63 kbpd refinery and HollyFrontier’s 45 kbpd refinery in the Salt Lake City area, which are having supplemental crude supplies delivered by truck.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, diesel pump prices remained stable at $2.877/gallon. This price was 65.8cts above its level last year. Prices excluding California rose 0.7cts to $2.779/gallon, which was 68.2cts above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices, in contrast, declined by 0.6cts to an average price of $2.956/gallon, 64.0cts higher than last year’s price. Prices were influenced by downtime at one of the hydrocrackers (20 kbpd capacity) at the 77 kbpd Phillips 66 Rodeo refinery near San Francisco. Tesoro’s isomerization unit was briefly down at Carson, California. PBF Energy reported that repairs had been completed at its Torrance, California, refinery, disputing other industry sources reporting that the refinery remained closed.
U.S. retail gasoline prices increased by 2.7cts for the week ended March 6, to $2.341/gallon. This price was 50.0cts higher than for the same week in 2016.
In the East Coast PADD 1, prices for gasoline edged down 0.1cts to $2.285/gallon. This price was 50.6cts higher than last year’s price. Prices dropped 1.4cts in New England to $2.258/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices fell by 0.8cts to $2.388/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market increased by 0.8cts to bring prices to an average of $2.215/gallon, 46.6cts higher than last year’s average price. PBF Energy reopened the 55 kbpd coker at its Delaware City, Delaware, refinery, which had been out of service since January 12. PBF is in the process of restarting its 44 kbpd cat reformer and related hydrotreaters. Philadelphia Energy Solutions has had gasoline-related units offline.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, gasoline prices jumped 5.7cts to average $2.67/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 45.2cts higher than they were one year ago. A fire at PBF Energy’s 188 kbpd Toledo, Ohio, refinery shut down the plant.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices rose 2.5cts to average $2.094/gallon. Prices for the week were 49.1cts higher than for the same week in 2016. The FCC at Chevron’s 325 kbpd Pascagoula, Mississippi, refinery remained down for unplanned repairs. Phillips 66 began a restart of the larger (45 kbpd) of its two cat crackers at the 200 kbpd Ponca City, Oklahoma, refinery. Petrobras is delayed in restarting the 56 kbpd cat cracker at the Pasadena, Texas, refinery.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 region, gasoline prices rose 1.4cts to average $2.287/gallon. This price was 50.3cts higher than at the same time in 2016. Supplies have been constrained by the closure of Plains All-American Pipeline’s 100,000 bpd Wasatch Pipeline. Tesoro and HollyFrontier reduced throughput at their Salt Lake City refineries.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices increased 3.6cts to an average price of $2.832/gallon. This was 58.8cts higher than at the same time a year ago. Excluding California, prices rose 2.0cts to an average of $2.542/gallon. This was 63.8cts higher than at the same time in 2016.
California saw a price hike of 4.4cts to an average pump price of $3/gallon even, the first state where retail gasoline prices hit the $3/gallon mark. Prices were 55.9cts higher than last year’s price for the same week. Los Angeles prices eased by 1.7cts after soaring 8.9cts last week, and LA prices averaged $3.052/gallon. Last week, Los Angeles became the first major city where prices topped $3 per gallon. Los Angeles was joined by San Francisco this week, where pump prices jumped by 6.6cts to average $3.031/gallon, 58.0cts above last year’s price.
Seattle prices increased 3.7cts to average $2.777/gallon, 64.2cts higher than prices one year ago. Prices in the LA market seesawed with conflicting reports concerning repairs to PBF’s Torrance, California, refinery in the aftermath of a fire. PBF reported that the repairs had been completed and that the refinery was meeting its fuel supply obligation. Tesoro’s 72 kbpd FCC and the associated 15 kbpd alkylation unit at its Golden Eagle refinery near Martinez, California, were closed for part of the week. Tesoro’s isomerization unit was briefly down at Carson, California. Valero reported that it was resuming full utilization of the 22 kbpd alkylation unit at its 88 kbpd Wilmington, California, refinery.