Weekly DOE/EIA price climbs for 11th week in a row

Run of hikes a rare occurrence in 27-year history of data series

The increase in the weekly Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration diesel price, the basis for most fuel surcharges, is starting to make history.

It rose this week to $2.695 a gallon, an increase of 2.6 cents. That is the 11th consecutive week that it has moved higher.  

Since the EIA started the series back in 1994, there have been only three times with a series of increases as long as the one that the market is going through now. 

There were two instances of 15-week increases, or in one case, an almost 15-week increase. 

In 1999, between June and October, the DOE/EIA price rose for 13 weeks, was flat for one week, and then rose again for a 15-week streak of increases or no decreases. During that time, the price rose to $1.232 from $1.059, a gain of 16.3%.

The one time that it rose for 15 consecutive weeks began in December 2010 and ran into March 2011. Over that 15-week period, the weekly DOE/EIA price rose to $3.908 a gallon from $3.162 a gallon, for a gain of 23.5%. 

The more recent 11-week increase was between July 2012 and September 2012. During that 11-week increase, the same duration as the current run, the price moved up to $4.135 a gallon from $3.683, marking a 13.3% increase.

In the current climb, the upward price move started with the second weekly report of November. In the most recent week when it posted a decline, it stood at $2.372. Its upward move to $2.695 a gallon marks an increase of 13.6%. 

The commodity prices of ultra low sulfur diesel have traded in a tight range in the past week but closed out slightly higher since the prior Monday. ULSD on the CME commodity exchange settled Monday at $1.5987 a gallon, up a little more than 2.5 cents a gallon since the settlement Jan. 11 of $1.5735 a gallon. But the week in between saw one-day increases of 2.3 and 2.05 cents and a one-day drop of 2.65 cents.  

The latest DOE survey of the retail market to determine the price was delayed a day due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.