Over the past week, national average diesel prices dropped 3.3 cents, according to the Department of Energy ("DOE"). The DOE's weekly price survey for the week of Dec. 5 shows diesel sitting at $3.931 per gallon, which will make for the second consecutive decline for diesel fuel. The decline is on the heels of last week's 4.6-cent drop reported by DOE. Diesel is now 4.4 cents a gallon higher than it was a month ago, and 73.4 cents dearer that it was this week a year ago.
The DOE says the national average price for gasoline is now at $3.29 a gallon, nearly two cents a gallon less than it was a week ago.
Meanwhile, benchmark crude oil dropped $2 per barrel in afternoon trading on Monday after rising as high as $102.44. The benchmark price ended the day about where it began, at $100.99 per barrel, up just 3 cents.
Oil prices gave up gains made earlier in the day on news that Standard & Poors could downgrade credit ratings for the wealthiest nations in Europe. Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, and Luxembourg are on notice that Standards & Poor is reviewing the countries' credit worthiness. Each has a one-in-two chance of a downgrade in the next 90 days, the newspaper said.
Additionally, while U.S. deals with high unemployment and slow growth, emerging-market economies are growing strongly, buying fuel by the shipload.
U.S. customers have been pulling back in part because an anemic economic recovery has left millions still looking for work. For example, in this past August U.S. drivers burned 7.7% less gasoline than four years earlier, when gasoline usage peaked.
But U.S. drivers aren't seeing much benefit in the form of lower prices because refineries on the Gulf Coast are shipping much of their output to places outside the region where the demand is higher, keeping prices high.
On-Highway Diesel Prices by Region
(Self Service Cash Price in Dollars per Gallon, Including Taxes)
East Coast: 3.934
New England: 4.036
Central Atlantic: 4.018
Lower Atlantic: 3.862
Gulf Coast: 3.828
Rocky Mountain: 4.035
West Coast: 4.105
The national average price in Canada for the week of Nov. 29 - Dec. 5, as reported by MJ Ervin & Associates, was 132.5 per liter ($4.996/USgal), down 1.6 cents per liter from the previous week. Whitehorse, Yukon had the highest price at 146.4 per liter ($5.541 US), while Calgary, Alta. Posted the lowest price in the land at 122.9 ($4.651 US).