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Despite conflicts in the Middle East and navigation diversions in the Red Sea, oil prices remain unaffected

The average diesel price has decreased for the fifth consecutive week. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), this week’s average retail diesel price dropped by 4.6 cents, reaching $3.848 per gallon. Over the past five declines, the gallon price has fallen a total of 21.3 cents, reaching a level not seen since late January.

Average diesel prices by region in the United States during the week of May 13 are as follows:

  • East Coast – $3.916
  • Midwest – $3.768
  • Gulf Coast – $3.559
  • Rocky Mountains – $3.791
  • West Coast – $4.551
  • California – $5.123
  • Central Atlantic – $4.155
  • Lower Atlantic – $3.794
En la imagen se muestra el precio del diésel

Renewable diesel and market dynamics

Despite conflicts in the Middle East and navigation diversions in the Red Sea, oil prices remain unaffected. However, market weakness is reflected in petroleum products, especially diesel, which is garnering increasing attention.

Diesel has become a primary reason behind the gradual decline in oil markets since mid-April. Recent weakness in oil is largely attributed to the diesel market, with a growing role for renewable diesel produced from non-petroleum feedstocks. Economist Philip Verleger notes that EIA data show U.S. distillate consumption down by 400,000 to 600,000 barrels per day compared to pre-pandemic levels, though this decline does not reflect renewable diesel consumption, as reported by FreightWaves.

Regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have led refineries to produce more renewable diesel, reducing petroleum consumption in the country, according to Verleger. However, these trends have not been reflected in global oil demand forecasts.

En la imagen se muestra una bomba de diésel

In recent analyst meetings, refinery executives have highlighted the importance of renewable diesel in their operations, citing operational experience and market knowledge gained. Though the diesel crack spread has decreased over the past two months, some executives, like Valero’s Gary Simmons, argue that demand remains solid, albeit expected to be flat or slightly lower than last year, with signs of potential improvement.

Phillips 66’s Brian Mandell notes that attacks in Ukraine have affected Russia’s refining capacity, but diesel prices have been affected by warm weather in the U.S. Northeast and the end of refinery maintenance season. Product market weakness compared to crude is evident, with the Brent 3-2-1 crack spread falling to around $21 per barrel from $29 two months ago, according to CME prices.


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