Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly data on diesel and gasoline retail prices for the week ended April 23, 2018. Gasoline and diesel prices continued their upward trek. At the national average level, gasoline prices increased by 5.1 cents/gallon. Diesel prices rose by 2.9 cents per gallon. Prices rose for both fuels in all PADDs countrywide.
The week ended April 20 brought another increase in WTI crude prices. WTI closed the week at $68.40/b, an increase of $1.16 over the course of the week. The prior week brought a price surge of $5.39/b.
US crude production has continued to expand in response to the higher prices, but the volumes have not overcome geopolitical risk factors and the continued success of the OPEC production cuts. US crude production rose by 15 kbpd during the week ended April 13. For the year-to-date, US output has expanded by an astounding 1.048 million barrels per day. Crude production of 9492 kbpd during the week ended January 5 has grown to a production level of 10,540 kbpd during the week ended April 13.
Apparent demand also was strong last week, and crude and product inventories were drawn down as well. Apparent demand (product supplied) for gasoline jumped by 584 kbpd during the week ended April 13, and diesel product supplied increased by 186 kbpd. US crude stockpiles shrank by 1.071 mmbbls, gasoline stocks were drawn down by 2.968 mmbbls, and diesel stocks dropped by 3.107 mmbbls. All of these elements supported stronger prices.
For the current week ended April 23, diesel prices rose by 2.9 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.133/gallon. National average prices have exceeded $3/gallon for five consecutive weeks.
In the East Coast PADD 1, diesel prices increased by 2.6 cents/gallon to arrive at an average of $3.142/gallon. Within PADD 1, New England prices rose by 2.2 cents to average $3.171/gallon. Central Atlantic diesel prices increased by 2.0 cents to average $3.295/gallon. Lower Atlantic prices rose by 3.0 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.028/gallon. PADD 1 prices were 51.0 cents/gallon above their prices for the same week last year.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail diesel prices increased by 3.1 cents to average $3.047/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 increased by 2.6 cents to average $2.936/gallon. This price was 47.8 cents higher than for the same week in the previous year. PADD 3 is the only market where diesel prices have not yet crossed the line to territory above $3/gallon.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, retail diesel prices rose by 4.4 cents to average $3.181/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 51.9 cents higher than in the prior year.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail diesel prices increased by 3.3 cents to average $3.616/gallon. This price was 74.1 cents above its level from last year. Prices excluding California rose by 4.0 cents to average $3.366/gallon. This was 58.0 cents above the retail price for the same week last year. California diesel prices rose by 2.8 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.815/gallon. This was 86.8 cents higher than last year’s price. Until January, PADD 5 had been the only PADD to have diesel prices above $3 per gallon. Prices around the country climbed until the national retail average exceeded the $3/gallon mark as of the week ended January 15. Product prices then followed crude prices down in the middle of the first quarter. They have followed crude prices back up, rising significantly in recent weeks.
U.S. retail gasoline prices increased by 5.1 cents during the week ended April 23, to arrive at an average price of $2.798/gallon. Gasoline prices rose in all PADDs countrywide.
For the current week ended April 23, East Coast PADD 1 retail prices for gasoline increased by 6.3 cents to $2.751/gallon. The average price was 33.5 cents higher than last year’s price. Within PADD 1, prices rose by 6.8 cents in New England to an average of $2.759/gallon. Central Atlantic market prices rose by 6.7 cents to arrive at an average of $2.862/gallon. Prices in the Lower Atlantic market increased by 5.9 cents, to an average price of $2.665/gallon. This was 32.2 cents higher than last year’s average price for the same week.
In the Midwest PADD 2 market, retail gasoline prices rose by 5.5 cents to arrive at an average price of $2.657/gallon. Gasoline pump prices were 29.9 cents higher than they were one year ago.
In the Gulf Coast PADD 3 market, gasoline prices increased by 5.0 cents to average $2.546/gallon. PADD 3 continues to have the lowest average prices among the PADDs. Prices for the week were 32.1 cents higher than for the same week in 2017.
In the Rocky Mountains PADD 4 market, gasoline pump prices rose by 3.8 cents to average $2.772/gallon. PADD 4 prices were 35.9 cents higher than at the same time in 2017.
In the West Coast PADD 5 market, retail gasoline prices increased by 2.4 cents to arrive at an average price of $3.391/gallon. This was 50.0 cents higher than at the same time a year ago. PADD 5 typically has the highest gasoline prices among the five PADDs. During the sixteen weeks of 2018 to date, PADD 5 has been the only PADD where retail gasoline prices have exceeded $3/gallon. Excluding California, West Coast prices increased by 2.4 cents, to an average price of $3.088/gallon. This was 41.4 cents higher than at the same time in 2017. In California, prices increased by 1.4 cents to arrive at an average pump price of $3.567/gallon. California prices were 55.0 cents per gallon above their levels from last year.