Diesel prices edge higher to another record

One week after the national average diesel price surged 16 cents a gallon to a new record, the average price rose another 2.1 cents to $2.588. Diesel is now 71.4 cents higher than a year ago and $1.085 higher than two years ago.

Prices for the week ended Aug. 22 were highest in California at $3.037, although prices were down slightly from the week before. No other region of the country saw a decrease from the previous week. The lowest average price was $2.512 in the Gulf Coast region.

The greatest increase over last week was 6.4 cents in the Rocky Mountain region, while the smallest increase was 0.6 cents in the West Coast region.

In reaction to the recent surge in already-high California diesel prices, the California Trucking Associations recently voiced support for legislation (Assembly Bill 679) that would allow for diesel fuel to be sold in California regardless of where the refinery is located. Since 1993, the California Air Resources Board adopted regulations setting a California-specific diesel fuel standard and prohibiting the importation of diesel fuel by an entity other than a California refinery.

“Big rigs can travel nearly 1,800 miles on a single fueling, making California the no-fuel
zone for out-of-state trucking companies and negatively impacting the state’s highway revenue,” said Michael Campbell, CTA’s chief executive officer.

Under AB 679, diesel could be imported into California as long as the fuel is as clean or cleaner than the fuel sold by California refiners. “AB 679 will bring a screeching halt to both the tight supply of diesel fuel and the escalating diesel prices that are economically damaging California’s agricultural and trucking companies,” said state
Assemblyman Ron Calderon, sponsor of the legislation.

“The prohibition on the import of compliant fuel was and is an unholy alliance between the government and a handful of California refineries, and penalizes the truckers based within the state with upwards of 60 cents per gallon price difference,” said Stephanie Williams, CTA’s senior vice president.

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Trucking companies contend that the California-only requirement is counterproductive because it discourages investment in lower-emissions equipment.

“We are priced out of the market and can’t afford less polluting trucks because California fleet owners must absorb the higher CARB diesel costs to compete with interstate trucking operations,” said Jim Ganduglia, president of Fresno-based Ganduglia Trucking.