Gasoline price increases for a fourth straight week
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline reached $3.39 per gallon after rising less than a penny this week. The average price increased over $0.16 per gallon in the last four weeks and was $0.29 per gallon higher than last year at this time. The largest regional increase occurred on the East Coast, a rise of almost two cents to $3.43 per gallon. The Gulf Coast region followed with an increase of a cent to land at $3.21 per gallon. The Midwest moved about a penny higher while the West Coast price was virtually unchanged after increasing just two-tenths of a cent. The West Coast average remained the highest in the Nation at $3.61 per gallon. The Rocky Mountain average decreased for the thirteenth consecutive week, dropping almost a penny to $3.00 per gallon.
The national average diesel price rose for the second consecutive week, increasing over two cents to $3.85 per gallon. The diesel price is $0.45 per gallon higher than last year at this time. The East Coast had the largest regional increase at three and a half cents per gallon to put the price at $3.94 per gallon. The Gulf Coast and Midwest regions both increased just under three cents per gallon to $3.78 per gallon and $3.75 per gallon, respectively. The West Coast average increased just over a penny to the highest regional price of $4.04 per gallon. The Rocky Mountain price went against the trend and decreased two cents to $3.82 per gallon.
U.S. average heating oil price increases
The residential heating oil price increased during the week ending January 16, 2012. The average residential heating oil price rose by $0.02 per gallon this week to reach $3.95 per gallon. This price is $0.50 per gallon higher than the same time last year. The wholesale heating oil price decreased by $0.04 per gallon this week to $3.12 per gallon, $0.38 per gallon higher than last year at this time.
The average residential propane price increased by less than $0.01 per gallon, nearly reaching $2.87 per gallon, which is $0.08 per gallon higher than last year. The average wholesale propane price decreased by $0.05 per gallon to nearly $1.21 per gallon. This was a decrease of $0.25 per gallon when compared with the January 17, 2011 price of $1.45 per gallon.
Propane inventories continue seasonal descent
Total U.S. propane stocks continued to drop last week, falling by 1.1 million barrels to end at 53.2 million barrels, which is at the upper end of the five-year range. The East Coast region led the draw, with stocks dropping by 0.4 million barrels. The Midwest and Gulf Coast regional inventories each fell by 0.3 million barrels and the Rocky Mountain/West Coast stocks declined slightly. Propylene non-fuel use inventories represented 10.0 percent of total propane inventories.