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The nationwide average price of diesel fell for the third consecutive week, by three-tenths of a cent to $2.424 a gallon, the Energy Information Administration reported Aug. 3.

With the decrease, the price of trucking’s primary fuel is 60.8 cents a gallon less than it was a year ago. For eight straight weeks now — since June 15 — diesel has hovered in the $2.40s.

Gasoline showed an increase, but by just one-tenth of a cent, reaching a nationwide average of $2.176 a gallon, 51.2 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago at this time.

The cost of diesel decreased in seven of the 10 regions of the country surveyed by EIA. All three regions where the price increased were west of the Mississippi River. Prices increased in the Rocky Mountain region by one-tenth of a cent to $2.343. Diesel in that region is 62.2 cents less expensive than in early August 2019.

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The price also went up one-tenth of a cent in the West Coast region to $2.955. Diesel is 65 cents less expensive there than a year ago.

The biggest increase in the nation was in the West Coast region excluding California, where the price jumped six-tenths of a cent to $2.592. The price of diesel there is 59 cents cheaper than a year ago.

The biggest drop came along the Gulf Coast, where diesel fell eight-tenths of a cents to $2.175 a gallon, the lowest of any region, as the Gulf Coast is home to much of the nation’s oil and gasoline production and a large share of the refining capacity. Diesel there is 61.2 cents a gallon less expensive than a year ago.

The other regions of the country experienced declines in the price of diesel ranging between one-tenth and three-tenths per gallon during the week, according to the EIA.

Tom Kloza, co-founder and global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service

Kloza

Oil Price Information Service founder and energy analyst Tom Kloza told Transport Topics there is an abundance of diesel fuel on the market, in part because an estimated 500,000 school buses and 36,000 privately owned motorcoaches are parked due to delays in returning to school and the shutdown of the over-the-road bus industry on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kloza says oil prices likely will continue to trade in a narrow range around $40 a barrel for the near future, which will keep prices stable or declining slightly.

“We’re looking at too much diesel, and it’s going to be a while before we work off the surplus that developed since February or so,” Kloza said. “You had a warm winter, you had an oil production war, and you had COVID, and it’s led to these ‘buy’ inventories for diesel.”

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