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Diesel prices increase nearly 5 cents

By Staff
February 04, 2014

Diesel prices were up significantly this week, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The average price per gallon increased 4.7 cents to $3.951, following last week’s 3.1 cent gain. Prior to these two weeks on rising prices, diesel dropped a cumulative 3.7 cents over the previous two weeks, when prices fell 1.3 cents and 2.4 cents, respectively. Those two weeks of declines were preceded by three weeks of gains for a cumulative 3.9 cents.  And those gains were preceded by two weeks of declines for a cumulative 1.2 cent drop during the weeks of December 9 and December 17. On an annual basis, the average price per diesel is down 7.1 cents.

This week’s average price is the highest in 2014 on a year-to-date basis and the highest since hitting $3.974 the week of September 16. And based on EIA data, much of the increase in prices is due in part to gains in the Northeast, with the East Coast average at $3.946, New England at $4.118, Central Atlantic at $4.060, and Lower Atlantic at $3.829.

Logistics Management oil and gas columnist Derik Andreoli recently observed that on the diesel side, oil production in the U.S. and Iraq continues to grow rapidly while emerging market demand will continue its lackluster performance.

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.

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Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in July headed up 1.3 percent on the heels of a 0.8 percent increase in June. The ATA’s not seasonally-adjusted (NSA) index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was 133.3 in July, which outpaced June’s 132.3 by 0.8 percent, and was up 2.8 percent annually.

Volumes for the month of July at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) were mixed, according to data recently issued by the ports. Unlike May and June, which saw higher than usual seasonal volumes, due to the West Coast port labor situation, July was down as retailers had completed filling inventories for back-to-school shopping.

With a 0.8 cent decrease, this week’s average price per gallon is $3.835 and stands as the lowest price since hitting $3.844 the week of November 25, 2013.

LTL carriers are rapidly investing in expensive, on-dock, three-dimensional size measurement capturing machinery, and they are hoping one day of being able to more accurately charge shippers rates based on the actual dimensions of their shipments, rather than the traditional weight-and-distance-based formula that has been in effect since the 1930s or even earlier.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) recently reported that its Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI) dipped 0.9 percent from May to June.

Article Topics

News · EIA · Diesel Prices · All topics

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