Motor Fuel Prices Fall, Deliver Big Savings at Pump Even as Some States Hike Gas Tax

AASHTO Journal, 9 January 2015

The sharp drop in highway fuel prices continued in the latest week, including in states where higher fuel taxes kicked in this month.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a national average retail price for gasoline at $2.21 a gallon from its Jan. 5 weekly survey of fueling stations. That price was down more than 8 cents in just the latest week and down $1.12 from a year earlier.


The EIA’s latest average diesel price was $3.14, down nearly 8 cents for the week and down 77 cents from the same point last year. Many trucking companies and the nation’s railroads use that EIA diesel price as a benchmark for fuel surcharges applied to shipment fees, so the pump price decline will reverberate in coming weeks and months in lower bills for their supply chain customers.

Also on Jan. 5, motor club federation AAA reported that its own national survey produced an average U.S. pump price of $2.20 for gasoline, while most states had at least one outlet selling the fuel for under $2 a gallon.

Its interactive map again showed latest-week declines in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania; all of them had fuel tax increases take effect in the new year, but their tax bumps did not prevent average prices from continuing to fall with global oil costs.

AAA said the plunging pump prices saved Americans an estimated $14 billion during 2014 from 2013’s average prices and consumption levels, or about $115 per household. That is based on a 2014 average price of $3.34 a gallon, which was down about 15 cents from the 2013 average, as prices solidly above $3 a gallon in the past year until November. If recent low prices are sustained, households could see dramatically higher fuel cost savings in 2015.

By Jan. 5, the price decline had continued for a record 102 days for a total drop of $1.15 a gallon since Sept. 25, AAA said, and had brought gasoline down to the level last seen on May 9, 2009, during the Great Recession.

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