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Diesel flattens, ending a month of significant declines

March 8, 2023
On the anniversary of the largest jump ever in diesel prices, the U.S. average for trucking’s main fuel barely registers, dropping 1.2 cents to $4.282 per gallon, but sits 56.7 cents below its year-ago level a year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. average for diesel fuel barely moved this week, dropping 1.2 cents to $4.282 per gallon after weeks of steeper declines, according to new U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. More significantly, however, the average now sits 56.7 cents below the level of a year ago, when the fuel recorded a record surge in the immediate shock to the energy markets after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Despite the slight decline the week of March 6, diesel is down for the fifth week in a row and has slid more than 30 cents in that time, according to EIA.

It’s taken a year for diesel prices to stabilize—and many owner-operators and small fleets have paid most severely for their ascent to records—but the year-ago down arrow finally arrived at EIA this week for the week of March 6. Gasoline has floated below its year-ago level (now 71.3 cents below, though the U.S. average for gas rose 4.7 cents this week to $3.389 a gallon) for several weeks. Now it’s diesel’s turn.

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For the week of March 7, 2022, EIA’s U.S. diesel average surged 74.5 cents to $4.849 per gallon and had risen almost a dollar per gallon more by the week of June 20, 2022, to $5.81 before beginning a gradual (and painfully slow for the trucking industry) decent to this week's level.

U.S. Energy Information AdministrationMotor club AAA’s U.S. diesel average is different but in the same neighborhood as EIA’s for the week of March 6. The motor club has the average at $4.375 per gallon, or 3.9 cents lower than a week ago, and had it falling slightly all this week and last. AAA tracks its fuel averages daily as well as weekly, monthly, and yearly like EIA.

Price declines steeper in most U.S. regions

The Midwest—where diesel actually rose 1.1 cents to $4.131 per gallon—was the only EIA region that posted an increase for the week of March 6, though it was the second cheapest region behind the Gulf Coast, where the fuel stayed the same price as last week at $4.027 per gallon.

U.S. Energy Information AdministrationElsewhere, the price declines were greater in places where diesel still is more expensive. The steepest drop was in the Rocky Mountain region, where diesel declined 6.1 cents, reaching $4.498 per gallon. The fuel dropped 3.8 cents on the most expensive West Coast to $4.895. On the other coast, trucking’s main fuel dropped 3.7 cents on the East Coast to $4.409 per gallon, where the New England subregion had the steepest drop of any in the U.S.: a decline of 8.9 cents to $4.736.

This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

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Scott Achelpohl