Twin Cities gas prices increased another 10 cents a gallon today — that’s a 30-cent run-up in a week. But that’s not the story; this is the story.
The price of a gallon of diesel fuel is now equal to — or, in many cases, less than — the price of a gallon of regular unleaded.
Since September of 2004, diesel has been higher than gasoline, mostly because of worldwide demand for diesel, tight refining capacity, the transition to ultra-low sulfur fuel and a federal excise tax that’s 6 cents higher than for gasoline.
This week the Energy Information Agency lowered its projections for the cost of both diesel and gasoline, citing a weakening economy.
But that doesn’t explain why one fuel is dropping and the other is going up. Apparently, it’s not just us. In Ohio, gasoline dealers say they’re frustrated because the prices are going up while the price of crude is going down. They contend wholesalers and oil companies are trying to make up for the money they lost earlier in the year.
A look at the Minnesota gas prices vs. crude price gives that view some credibility.
|Minnesota Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com|
Economists had hoped lower gasoline prices — other than California, Minnesota has some of the highest gas prices in the country — would get people to spend more.
At $3.79, the price of gasoline is only 4 cents away from the highest average price in Minnesota in more than a year.
Meanwhile, for truckers — especially independent truckers — the lower prices go right to the bottom line. I wrote this article about one such trucker in 2008. Four years ago, he was paying 20 cents more a gallon than he is today.