Economic contraction in 2009 and lower projected crude oil prices are expected to reduce annual average retail diesel fuel prices in 2009 to $2.27 per gallon, according to the Department of Energy (DOE) Short-Term Energy Outlook released January 13.
After steadily falling since mid-summer 2008, the average price of diesel rose 2.3 cents last week to $2.314 per gallon, according to the DOE data. Ultra low sulfur diesel prices followed suit to $2.324 per gallon, 2.5 cents less than the week before.
"On-highway diesel fuel retail prices, which averaged $3.79 per gallon in 2008, are projected to average $2.27 per gallon in 2009 and $2.54 in 2010," the DOE outlook forecasts. "The projected continuation of the decline in the consumption of diesel fuel in the United States as well as a slowing of the growth in distillate fuel usage outside the United States are expected to result in a weakening of refining margins for distillate throughout the forecast."