The weekly Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration retail diesel price rose a half-cent per gallon this week, the ninth consecutive week it has posted a gain.
The Monday price of $2.64 a gallon stands 36.8 cents more than the $2.372-per-gallon price of Nov. 2, the price before the nine-week run of increases began.
It’s the longest run of increases since a 10-week stretch in March 2018. But even during that streak, the price over those 10 weeks rose just 18 cents per gallon, starting from a base of $3.207, for a percentage gain of roughly 5.8%. This latest increase is already at 15.5% and counting.
The benchmark DOE/EIA price rose despite signals in the market that it might have been set for a downturn. The national average wholesale diesel price found in the ULSDR.USA series in SONAR is down 3.3 cents since Christmas Day, falling to $1.598 from $1.631 during that time. The daily national average retail diesel price found in the DTS.USA SONAR series, which stood at $2.69 a gallon Monday, was down about 0.4 cts a gallon since Christmas Day.
Other market signs so far are pointing to the possibility of the run of increases coming to an end. Since Dec. 28, the first trading day after Christmas, the price of ultra low sulfur diesel on the CME commodity exchange has dipped slightly, to settle Monday at $1.462 per gallon from $1.494 on the last trading day before Christmas.
However, a key subcommittee of OPEC is meeting this week to discuss the possibility of putting more oil onto the market. The group’s meeting Monday broke up without resolution, opening up the prospect of more market uncertainty this week as that issue is worked out.