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Prices for gasoline, diesel both rise to record highs in US

Prices for gasoline, diesel both rise to record highs in US

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The national average prices for regular gasoline and diesel in the United States both climbed to fresh record highs Tuesday.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), which provides the latest gas price analysis based on data from 130,000 gas stations nationwide, the regular gas price rose four cents on Tuesday to 4.37 U.S. dollars a gallon, overtaking the prior record of 4.33 dollars on March 11.

Diesel prices hit a record, with the national average price now 5.55 dollars per gallon, up 23 cents from last week, when the most recent record was set.

The increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near 100 dollars a barrel last week and is now closing in on 110 dollars, the AAA said in a note, adding "with the cost of oil accounting for more than half of the pump price, more expensive oil means more expensive gasoline."

The surge in gas and diesel prices not only adds to inflationary pressures that have raised recession fears, rocked financial markets and soured Americans' views on the economy but has also directly affected the agriculture industry.

Agweb.com, a US agriculture news website, said Tuesday that farmers are now reporting higher farm diesel prices than on-road diesel, which is typically not the case.

Farmers already face a shortage of equipment parts, tires and some crop inputs, the report said, adding due to increased demand and a drop in production, a diesel shortage may be a huge blow.

Peter Meyer with S&P Global Commodity Insights said certain areas of the country had seen shortages of diesel, with prices expected to rise higher.

"Supplies at New York Harbor, a hub for diesel distribution, are at a 30-year low," Meyer said.

"As such, the East Coast of the U.S. has been hit especially hard, resulting in diesel prices above 6.00 US dollars per gallon in that area, well over the equivalent of 250 U.S. dollars per barrel," Meyer added.