The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel rose three cents in the week ended Dec. 30 to $3.903, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. That’s the highest price in three months, but just below average for the year and within a penny of the first report of 2013.
The jump in price was the first move of more than a penny for the month of December, as diesel had remained nearly stagnant in the previous three weeks, changing just a fraction of a cent in each. The price fell four-tenths of a cent in the week ended Dec. 9 and then fell another eight-tenths of a cent in the week ended Dec. 16 before edging upward by two-tenths of a cent in last week’s report.
The price of diesel in the last several months has been consistently at least a dime cheaper — sometimes as much as a quarter cheaper — than the same week in 2012. That gap, however, has closed in recent weeks, as the price of diesel is now just 1.5 cents lower than the same week in 2012 — making the 2013 calendar year about break-even for the cost of fuel.
The price climbed in every region of the U.S. for the week, up 4 cents in the Midwest and on the West Coast, while gaining only 1.7 cents in the Lower Atlantic region and on the Gulf Coast.
The California region still has the country’s most expensive diesel, $4.104 a gallon, while the Gulf Coast region has the nation’s cheapest, $3.789.