LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As the old adage goes: All good things must come to an end.
The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) most recent report shows that the average price of a gallon of diesel currently sits at $4.583 as of Jan. 3, up from $4.537 on Dec. 26 but still lower than the $4.596 average on Dec. 19.
This slight spike ends seven straight weeks of declines in average diesel prices, according to EIA data.
Not every part of the nation saw increases, however. According to the EIA, average diesel prices continued to drop in New England, along the West Coast (outside of California), in the Rocky Mountain region and in the Central Atlantic states.
Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said there are several things to consider when watching the nation’s fuel prices.
U.S. production of diesel is slim. Out of one barrel of crude oil — two-thirds becomes gasoline and one third becomes diesel — he said.
That means when oil refineries have production issues, diesel output is particularly affected.
The war between Russia and the Ukraine is another factor. The conflict has reduced the amount of oil transported from Russia to the U.S.
“Russia produces a lot of heavy oil, that heavy oil produces … diesel, and because countries aren’t importing as much of that heavy oil, the refineries (in the U.S.) aren’t able to produce as much heavy product like diesel,” De Haan said.
In addition, refining capacity has decreased about 4% since 2020.
According to the EIA, in 2020, there were 135 operable refineries in the U.S. and as of the start of 2022, there were 130.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil for February delivery fell $3.33 to $76.93 a barrel on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Brent crude for March delivery fell $3.81 to $82.10 a barrel.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.