5500778 Phartisan | Dreamstime
Dreamstime M 5500778 6372c7d32f1e8 6373cba3e941d

Diesel average dips, but more price hikes may be brewing amid shortage concerns

Nov. 15, 2022
Slight decrease in national price of trucking’s main fuel belies continued concerns that the U.S. is headed toward a diesel shortage this winter that could escalate prices nearer to the midsummer 2022 record of $5.81.

The national average for diesel fuel remains over $5.30 per gallon, though it dipped slightly—2 cents—for the week of Nov. 14, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This means that the fuel remains stubbornly expensive, as in $1.579 a gallon pricier than this time last year.

But could the U.S. average go higher and perhaps approach this June's per-gallon record of $5.81? Experts think a new irritant—not the fighting in Russia, not surging demand, and not rising oil prices but a diesel shortage—could send the price of trucking’s main fuel toward those heights.

See also: Diesel prices static as supply concerns emerge

EIA reported that, as of Oct. 14, the U.S. had 25.4 days of distillate supplies (diesel is one along with jet fuel and home heating oil) left, sparking fears of a supply crunch. That outlook has improved only slightly more recently to 26 days of supply, around the lowest since 2008.

Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, a Houston-based consulting firm and analyzer of market trends, told CNBC that he expected the national average to rise “15 to 20 cents in the next few weeks.” The same CNBC report said the U.S. ban on Russian products, set for next year and put in place after that country’s bloody invasion of Ukraine early this spring, will intensify competition for fuel and drive prices even higher than the $5.45 to $5.50 that Lipow predicted.

Might this period now be the calm before the coming storm?

The U.S. diesel average only registered a slight increase last week, 1.6 cents, according to EIA. Motor club AAA saw only a 2.1-cent increase in diesel over last week, though its national average is almost $5.36 per gallon, or slightly more than EIA.

Besides the national average, EIA reported there were slight decreases in two of the five regions for which it reports data. Diesel for the week of Nov. 14 was down 5.1 cents to $4.886 per gallon along the Gulf Coast (cheapest region in the nation) and slipped 3 cents to $5.321 in the Midwest, according to EIA.

The fuel was flat or up only slightly elsewhere: up a fraction of a penny to $5.474 on the East Coast (where supply is nevertheless constricted) and up half a penny on the West Coast to $5.769 but 6.3 cents higher to $5.40 per gallon in the Rocky Mountain region.

Gasoline followed a similar trajectory as diesel for the week of Nov. 14, according to EIA. Gas fell 3.4 cents to $3.762, or about $1.55 per gallon cheaper than diesel. Gasoline also was down in every region of the U.S. except the East Coast.

This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl

Sponsored Recommendations

Repair, Replace or Retire - Grab Your Calculator

Don't make the mistake of ignoring fleet maintenance. Learn how to be proactive instead of reactive and reduce up to 70% of breakdowns.

Mobil Delvac™ oils give race car haulers winning edge

See how Mobil Delvac™ oils boosted the Tony Stewart Racing Team

The Technician’s Guide for Mastering DPF Regens

Become a regen expert today! Equip yourself with the skills necessary to recognize when a forced regen is the correct procedure to maximize the lifespan of your filter and keep...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...