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.

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By Roger W. Gilroy
Staff Reporter

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