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The price of diesel, trucking’s main fuel, dropped 1.8 cents to $2.404 a gallon in its third consecutive decline, the Energy Information Administration reported Sept. 21.

Gasoline fell by a similar amount, 1.5 cents, to $2.168 a gallon. 

Trucking’s main fuel now costs 67.7 less than it did a year ago. EIA said diesel declined by a penny or more in nine of the 10 regions it surveys every week.

The biggest drop was in the Midwest, where diesel declined 2.6 cents per gallon to $2.282. Diesel is 71 cents a gallon less expensive in that region than it was at this time in 2019.

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The smallest decrease was in New England. Diesel there dropped four-tenths of a cent to $2.601 a gallon. Diesel is 46.9 cents less expensive in that region than it was a year ago.

The most expensive diesel remains in California at $3.257, down a cent from a week ago. Diesel in the Golden State is 71.9 cents less expensive than it was a year ago.

The least expensive diesel remains in the Gulf Coast Region, home to most of the nation’s oil and gasoline production and refining capacity, and substantially lower transportation costs. Diesel costs $2.157 this week, 1.5 cents a gallon less than in 2019. Diesel in the Gulf Coast is down 70.1 cents a gallon from last year’s level.

Oil industry analyst Tom Kloza, founder of the Oil Price Information Service, said demand for diesel, gasoline and other petroleum products remains soft. On Sept. 21, he pointed out the price of oil declined nearly $2 a barrel, off its recent high of nearly $41, directly impacting the price of gas and diesel.

“There’s been a vicious sell-off in U.S. gasoline markets,” he said. “So far today removing six to seven cents per gallon from wholesale prices. If an oil tanker passes you on the highway, its cargo has dropped by $560 since leaving the terminal on the way to the station. Last week was the ugliest demand week since June.”

The drop in prices comes even as much of the nation’s oil and gasoline production and refining capability was temporarily shut down by Hurricane Sally. But the oil industry got a break, at least for a few days, when the storm moved farther east toward Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Some oil workers began returning to oil platforms, and refineries were restarted faster than expected.

However, some of those same workers may be forced back to land before long as Tropical Storm Beta is churning in the Gulf of Mexico, posing a threat of flooding rain, storm surge and gusty winds to parts of Texas and Louisiana into midweek. But Beta is not expected to cause as much of a disruption to oil and gas as Sally, and earlier, Hurricane Laura. According to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which monitors and regulates off-shore energy production, less than 10% of the Gulf’s oil and gas volumes remained offline Sept. 21 from the effects of Hurricane Sally last week.

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