The Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration weekly retail diesel price rose 2.4 cents for the week, to $2.526 a gallon.
The price is the basis for most fuel surcharges.
With the 2.4-cent increase, the benchmark price is now up 15.4 cents a gallon over the past five weeks since a recent bottom of $2.372 a gallon, posted Nov. 2. And even after a volatile year, it’s only 5.23 cents a gallon under the level of last year at this time.
Among highlights in the price of oil and diesel in the past week:
— Since the settlement of ultra low sulfur diesel on the CME commodity exchange on Friday, Nov. 27, the price of ULSD has climbed a little less than 2 cents a gallon, settling Monday at $1.3992 from $1.3805 on the day after Thanksgiving. However, the movement from Friday to Friday, which would more fully capture the price shifts that would impact retail prices in the past week, rose to $1.403 a gallon last Friday, Dec. 4, from the $1.3805-a-gallon price on Nov. 27.
— That small move in the overall price of ULSD on CME is reflected in the national wholesale diesel rack price as seen in the ULSDR.USA data series in SONAR. It’s up about 2 cents since Nov. 27.
— Diesel is continuing to rise at a faster rate than crude. The spread between global crude benchmark Brent and ULSD rose on Monday to 23.75 cents a gallon. It was $22.80 cents a gallon last Monday. But most importantly, it was the widest spread since April 22.
— The spread between the front month of a commodity contract and months out into the future is a strong indication of the level of inventories. The front month to 12-month spread for ULSD was as wide as more than 18 cents a gallon in September, as inventory levels weighed on the market. But that spread settled Monday at 6.75 cents, a clear sign of just how much inventories have tightened as refiners dialed back production from earlier levels.