Attacks on Saudi oil field should have minimal impact on diesel prices

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Updated Sep 20, 2019
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Though recent attacks of a Saudi Arabian oil field has severely crimped production capacity of the country’s oil output, prices for diesel in the U.S. will likely only see a mild impact.

“Any significant jump will be more based on anxiety than fact,” says Chris Lee, an analyst at ProMiles and its Fuel Surcharge Index. The U.S., which uses about 20 million barrels of crude oil a day, imports less than 1 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia, he says. What’s more, the Department of Energy holds about 500 million barrels in reserves, and President Trump has authorized dipping into the reserves if necessary.

Locally, in the Houston area, Lee says he’s seen gas prices jump by 15 to 20 cents in recent days, but “what I’m seeing for diesel nationwide is more in the neighborhood of a penny,” he says.

Though crude oil prices initially spiked over the weekend, they’ve since settled and are up only about $3 a barrel since last week.