Gasoline, Diesel Rise More Slowly in Latest Week; Still About $1 Below Year Ago

AASHTO Journal, 15 May 2015

The national average pump prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel rose more than 2 cents a gallon in the week ending May 11, the Energy Information Administration said, for a slower upward momentum that still left retail motor fuel about a dollar per gallon lower than at the same time in 2014.


Gasoline’s average rose 2.7 cents to $2.691 a gallon, the EIA said, and was about 98 cents lower than a year ago.

Fuel market analysts had partly attributed the past month’s spiking prices to refineries producing and distributing higher-cost summer gasoline blends that had to be in place by May 1, along with rising springtime demand as more motorists began taking vacation road trips. Those factors had helped push prices up by 8 and 9 cents a gallon in each of several weeks.

Without the same upward pressures of fuel blend changes and vacation demand, prices for diesel fuel have risen much more moderately. The May 11 average price, taken from an EIA survey of fueling stations across the country, was up 2.4 cents for the week to $2.878 and was still $1.07 lower than at the same point last year.

That diesel increase compares with a 4.3-cent rise for the May 4 survey and a 3.1-cent rise shown on April 27.

And despite these increases from earlier this year, diesel’s price continues to hold in a range that is lower than any time since early 2010 when the economy was trying to pull out of the Great Recession.

And since diesel is still the dominant fuel by far used in commercial trucks, those lower diesel prices are still good news for the vast majority of manufacturers, retailers and households that rely on truck deliveries of production materials.

Long-haul truck fleets and delivery firms add a fuel surcharge that at times can surpass the basic freight fee, so over the past year they have mostly been cutting those fuel fees and spreading a discount through the supply chain.

While the moderate rise of recent weeks can take back some of that discount, many freight shippers who are still paying lower fuel surcharges on their delivery bills than at any time last year.

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