Fuel1 Photo: American Trucker

Mixed movement for U.S. fuel prices this week

Diesel and gasoline prices rise and fall in different parts of the country.

Prices for diesel and gasoline in the U.S. went in different directions this week depending on the region, per data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The national average retail pump price for diesel inched up 1/10th of a penny to $3.043 per gallon this week, EIA said, which is 46.1 cents per gallon higher compared to the same week in 2017.

Price spikes in the Rocky Mountains (up 4.2 cents to $3.086), the West Coast excluding California (up 2.4 cents to $3.336) were offset by declines in the Midwest (down 5/10ths of a penny to $2.957), the Gulf Coast (down 7/10ths of a penny to $2.844) and 1/10th of a penny declines in New England (down to $3.116) and the Central Atlantic (down to $3.232).

A similar scenario played out for gasoline prices as the national average retail pump price slipped 6/10ths of a penny to $2.694 per gallon this week, per EIA’s numbers, though that is 27 cents per gallon higher compared to the same week in 2017.

Again, price spikes in the Rocky Mountains (up 4 cents to $2.639) and the West Coast excluding California (up 4 cents to $2.998) were counteracted by a greater number (albeit smaller) price declines in other regions, notably the Lower Atlantic (down 1.9 cents to $2.358) and Midwest (down 1.5 cents to $2.55).

In a separate note, EIA pointed out that annual average U.S. crude oil production reached 9.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2017, an increase of 464,000 b/d from 2016 levels after declining by 551,000 b/d in 2016.

In November 2017, monthly U.S. crude oil production reached 10.07 million b/d, the highest monthly level of crude oil production in U.S. history, the agency said, with rising U.S. crude oil production driven mainly by production from tight rock formations using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. EIA projects that U.S. crude oil production will continue to grow in 2018 and 2019, averaging 10.7 million b/d and 11.3 million b/d, respectively.

Texas continues to produce more crude oil than any other state or region of the U.S., per EIA’s numbers, and has held the top position in nearly every year since 1970, with the exceptions of 1988, when Alaska produced more crude oil than Texas, and from 1999 through 2011, when production from the Federal Gulf of Mexico was higher.

Texas crude oil production averaged 3.5 million b/d in 2017 and reached a record high monthly level of 3.95 million b/d in December 2017. Texas’s 2017 annual production increase of nearly 300,000 b/d—driven by significant growth within the Permian region—was more than all other states and the Federal Gulf of Mexico combined.

Production levels in Colorado, Oklahoma, and North Dakota each grew by more than 30,000 b/d from 2016 to 2017, EIA added, while Alaskan production increased only slightly. California’s production declined 34,000 b/d, the state’s third consecutive annual decline, the agency said.

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