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Diesel prices are down for third time in five weeks, says EIA

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 23, 2012

The average price per gallon for diesel gasoline decreased for the third time in the last five weeks, falling 3.4 cents to $4.116 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

This decline follows the week of October 15, which was the average price increase 5.6 cents to $4.15 per gallon, which is the highest price since the week of August 18, 2008, when prices were $4.207 per gallon.

It also snapped two consecutive weeks of increasing prices, which were preceded by two straight weeks of declines. Prior to that diesel prices were up for 11 consecutive weeks through the week of September 17, during which time prices rose a cumulative 48.7 cents. On an annual basis, prices are up 34.9 cents.

In its recently updated short-term energy outlook, the EIA is calling for diesel prices to average $3.96 per gallon in 2012 and $3.73 in 2013, with WTI crude oil expected to hit $95.66 per barrel in 2012 and $92.63 in 2013.

Regardless of the fluctuation in diesel prices, shippers are cognizant of the impact diesel prices can have on their bottom line—for better or worse. And they continue to be proactive on that front, too, by taking steps to reduce mileage and transit lengths when possible as well as cut down on empty miles.

And even through shippers want to adjust budgets in order to offset the increased costs higher fuel prices bring, it is not always an easy thing to manage.

With fuel prices, for the most part seeing steady gains, the focus from a supply chain management perspective, according to shippers, is more on utilization and efficiency by doing things like driving empty miles out of transportation networks.

A retail shipper recently told LM that his companies absorb the volatility in fuel prices though its fuel surcharge plan rather than hedging or being active with futures contracts due to the fact that it is not free or easy. And while it does reduce volatility, he said it does not always save money for shippers.

“The way we try to mitigate fuel prices is by how we set up our overall network, which is a highly optimized network of distribution centers and stores and fulfillment centers…which allows us to maximize our destiny,” he said.

Oil barrel prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange were are $88.39 at press time.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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Article Topics

News · EIA · Diesel Prices · Diesel · All topics

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