WASHINGTON -- U.S. regular gasoline retail prices fell from an average of $3.75 per gallon in October 2012 to an average of $3.45 per gallon in November, which was the lowest average since July of this year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The West Coast (PADD 5) experienced the largest decline in retail gasoline prices over the last two months, as multiple supply constraints were resolved and gasoline inventories recovered. PADD 5 regular gasoline retail prices fell by $0.79 per gallon, from $4.41 per gallon on Oct. 8, 2012 to $3.62 per gallon on Dec. 3, 2012.
Regular gasoline prices in the Central Atlantic states (PADD 1B) fell by $0.32 per gallon over this same period despite the market disruptions caused by Hurricane Sandy.
EIA expects regular-grade gasoline retail prices, which averaged $3.53 per gallon in 2011, to average $3.63 per gallon and $3.43 per gallon in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
On-highway diesel fuel retail prices averaged $4.09 per gallon in October 2012, and continued tight market conditions and strong global demand kept on-highway diesel fuel prices at an average of $4.00 per gallon in November.
On Nov. 23, 2012, U.S. week-ending stocks of distillate fuel oil fell to their lowest level since May 30, 2008, despite the higher expected demand during the upcoming winter heating oil season. EIA expects that on-highway diesel fuel retail prices will average $3.97 per gallon in 2012 and $3.84 per gallon in 2013.
Wholesale diesel margins (the difference between the wholesale price of diesel and the U.S. average refiner acquisition cost of crude oil) averaged $0.60 per gallon in the first half of 2012, and then climbed to an average of $0.97 per gallon in October, the highest monthly average on record, surpassing the previous high of $0.96 per gallon in October 2005.
EIA projects wholesale diesel margins will average $0.91 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2012 and $0.76 per gallon in 2013, compared with the previous five-year (2007-2011) average of $0.52 per gallon.