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The national average price of diesel decreased three-tenths of a cent, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly data released Oct. 26. The drop is the seventh in the past eight weeks.
Trucking’s main fuel now costs $2.385 a gallon, which is 67.9 cents less than a year ago.
Diesel declined in nine of the 10 regions in EIA’s weekly survey. The biggest slide was in the Midwest, seven-tenths of cent to $2.262 a gallon. The fuel costs 70.1 cents less per gallon than it did at this time in 2019.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline also fell, by seven-tenths of a cent, to $2.143 a gallon, 45.3 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago.
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The most expensive diesel remains in California, the only area in the survey where it exceeds $3 a gallon. Diesel fell four-tenths of a cent to $3.235 a gallon. Diesel is 76.3 cents less expensive in the Golden State than it was a year ago.
The least expensive diesel is in the Gulf Coast region, where, coincidently it was the only area that marked an increase. The cost, which inched up three-tenths of a cent to $2.146 a gallon, is 66 cents per gallon less than it was a year ago.
The Gulf Coast is home to much of the nation’s oil and gasoline production as well as refining capacity, and again energy officials are closely watching the Gulf of Mexico. Another hurricane is beginning to show signs of strength and landfall in the United States is possible by midweek.
The National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Fla., says its forecast cone shows landfall between southeastern Louisiana and the Alabama coast. This would mark the eighth storm to make landfall along the Gulf Coast this season, with the highest concentration in Louisiana.
Zeta is the 27th named storm of the hurricane season.
The Federal Government’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said on Oct. 26 that nearly 16% of Gulf oil production and 6% of natural gas output is offline because of Zeta. That number could increase as the storm moves closer to the coastline.
Several energy companies, including BP, are pulling workers off rigs as a precaution.
“BP is closely monitoring Tropical Storm Zeta in the Caribbean Sea to ensure the safety of our personnel and operations in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. With forecasts indicating the storm will move across the central and/or northeastern Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, we are taking steps to respond,” BP said in a statement. “BP has begun securing its offshore facilities and evacuating personnel from our four offshore platforms. Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor weather conditions closely to determine next steps.”
Meanwhile, the price of oil on world markets continues to remain in a narrow range, closing Oct. 26 at $40.88 a barrel.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. oil production remains far below what it was just seven months ago. EIA said production was up last week to 10.5 million barrels per day, but that’s down 2.6 million barrels per day, or 19.8%, when domestic production reached a record high of 13.1 million barrels per day.
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