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February 6, 2017 5:25 PM, EST
Diesel Creeps Lower Again, Falling 0.4¢ to $2.558
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The U.S. average retail price of diesel fell 0.4 cent to $2.558 a gallon as crude oil prices were buffeted by a strong dollar and settled at about $53 a barrel while U.S. rig counts continued to rise, analysts said.

It was diesel’s fourth decline after six consecutive weekly increases, the Department of Energy reported Feb. 6. However, the cumulative decline during the period has been only 2.7 cents from $2.585 on Jan. 16.

During the previous six-week rise, diesel climbed 11.7 cents to $2.597 from $2.48 on Dec. 5.

Diesel now costs 55 cents more than it was a year ago, when the price was $2.008, DOE said.

All areas reported a lower average price for diesel except the West Coast regions, DOE’s Energy Information Administration reported. For example, the average diesel price in California rose 1.7 cents to 2.944 — the highest in the nation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. average price for regular gasoline fell 0.3 cent to $2.293 a gallon, according to EIA.

The average weekly gasoline price in the regions was mixed — unchanged in the West Coast less California region, up 2.2 cents in the West Coast region, and up 1.3 cents in the Midwest region. It fell elsewhere.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at $53.01 per barrel Feb. 6, compared with $52.81 on Jan. 31.

The price of crude oil accounted for 47% of the retail cost of a gallon of diesel fuel in December, according to the latest available data, EIA said. It was 52% of the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline.

One carrier found using certain components can boost fuel mileage and also align the fleet with upcoming regulatory mandates.

Stagecoach Cartage & Distribution said Jan. 25 it is the first carrier in Texas to earn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Elite trailer designation, using low-rolling-resistance tires and rear fairings to increase their fuel efficiency by 10% or more.

“By employing these fuel-saving technologies, we’re able to provide more competitive pricing for our customers and reduce our overall carbon footprint. It’s a win-win for everyone involved,” Mike Lovin, director of fleet maintenance for Stagecoach Cartage, said in a statement.

Stemco’s TrailerTail fairing, which Stagecoach has used since 2011, streamlines the air flow at the rear of the trailer and reduces turbulence, sway and drag, which decreases driver fatigue, the carrier said.

Earning the SmartWay Elite carrier designation positions Stagecoach favorably in support of EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Phase 2 greenhouse-gas standards, intended to increase fuel efficiency and lower carbon emissions, the El Paso, Texas-based carrier said.

Phase 2 requires an emissions-reduction contribution from trailers starting in 2018, then in 2021, 2024 and 2027. Truck and engine manufacturers face new regulations in the last three of those four years.

The dollar rose 0.3% against leading currencies on Feb. 6, making commodities [such as crude oil] priced in the greenback less appealing to investors, according to Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, the U.S. rig count  reached 729 on Feb. 3, an increase of 17 from the week before, and 158 more than a year earlier, according to the oil field services company Baker Hughes.

 

Baker Hughes ranks No. 14 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.