Diesel prices continued their recent and steep decline into the New Year, aided by oil prices that are the lowest in nearly six years.
The average cost of on-highway diesel fell 7.6 cents over the past week to $3.137 per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Department. That's the lowest price since November 2010. Compared to the same time a year ago, diesel is down 77.3 cents.
The fuel is also down from its 2014 high of $4.021 per gallon hit in early March, the price falling most weeks since then.
Price declines also happened in all the different parts of the country over the past week, ranging from 4.7 cents in the Central Atlantic states, for an average of $3.303 (also the most expensive regional price), to as much as 10.4 cents in the Midwest, for an average of $3.102.
Trucking's main fuel is the lowest in the Gulf Coast region, $3.045, down 7.6 cents from last week.
The DOE also reported gasoline continued its recent price decline, with the U.S. average for the regular grade fuel falling 8.5 cents over the past week to $2.214 per gallon, the lowest since May 2009. Compared to the same time a year ago the price is down nearly $1.12 per gallon.
Gasoline currently ranges from a low of $1.974 in the Midwest to a high of $2.582 in the West Coast region.
The fuel prices were released following the close of floor trading Monday in New York for oil, which fell $2.65 on the day, settling at $50.04 per gallon, its lowest closing since April 28, 2009. Compared to last Tuesday’s opening price it is down $3.68. Before closing on Monday oil briefly was trading below $50 per barrel, the first time that’s happened since April 2009.
Oil prices have been falling since June, when U.S. crude was selling for more than $107 per barrel. This is due in large part to increasing production of oil from U.S. shale drilling operations, Saudi Arabia refusing to cut production to bolster prices and slowing worldwide demand.
Contributing to Monday’s drop in oil prices was a report that Russia’s output of oil in 2014 rose to its highest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union, while Iraq’s oil exports in December were the highest since 1980.
There are reports that some traders are expecting oil prices to be trading well into the $40s later this week, especially if government numbers show increasing oil stockpiles. A few are even predicting the $20 to $30 per barrel range by June.