AASHTO Journal, 29 January 2016
The average nationwide retail price of gasoline sank to $1.856 a gallon as of Jan. 25, the Energy Information Administration said, for the lowest weekly average since Jan. 26, 2009.
Motor fuel costs have been steadily dropping in recent months along with plunging global petroleum prices. That has been a boon to households and businesses by cutting their commute, pleasure travel and shipping expenses, but it has also put a burden on states that either depend on oil production fees for their transportation budgets or have fuel taxes tied to the price level.
As reported in the States section of this week’s AASHTO Journal, California and Kentucky have joined the ranks of states trimming project funding allocations as fuel tax income declined.
The AAA motor club, which conducts its own pricing survey daily, said as of Jan. 25 its national average pump price had been under $2 for 25 straight days.
The EIA’s weekly pricing snapshot is widely used by businesses such as delivery firms to adjust their own fuel surcharges. It first moved below $2 on Jan. 11.
The agency also reported a Jan. 25 national average price for diesel fuel of $2.071, the lowest since March 16, 2009. That was a time when freight shipments were weak during the 2008-09 recession. Trucking firms that are heavy users of diesel often adjust their fuel surcharges to changes in the EIA listing.
The EIA’s latest gasoline price is about 19 cents a gallon below its year-earlier level. The latest weekly diesel price is down nearly 80 cents from diesel’s level in the last week of January 2014.