New England faces soaring diesel prices
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When will fuel prices finally start to recover?
The pain at the pump continues to hurt more, as diesel prices in Massachusetts hit an all-time high on May 4. The average price of $6.10 per gallon in the Bay State is nearly $1 higher per gallon than a week ago.
With trucks using diesel, experts fear a continued rise in fuel costs will affect prices at your local grocery store, on top of inflation which has already driven prices up.
“It’s just a really bad situation right now,” AAA Northeast’s Mark Schieldrop told the Herald on May 4. “Diesel prices keep going up and up.
“We’re in a crazy time right now,” he added. “To see diesel prices at $6.10, you have to rub your eyes and take another look. It’s unimaginable right now. »
Gas prices and heating oil costs have skyrocketed since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with prices rising after the United States banned imports of Russian oil and gas.
Diesel prices in Massachusetts are now more than double the $3 from a year ago. Prices in the northeast are significantly higher than in other parts of the country, in part because New England does not have access to the same pipelines as elsewhere.
Data from the Energy Information Administration shows diesel prices for the seven-day period ending May 2. The average price of diesel jumped 86.1 cents in New England. (Energy Information Administration)
The national average for diesel is now $5.42 per gallon, compared to $6.10 in Massachusetts.
“Any big rig, any diesel vehicle is paying twice as much as last year,” Schieldrop said. “Everything in the economy is based on diesel transportation, so we might see a trickle-down effect on the things we buy at the grocery store. That’s not going to help matters at all.”
Because Russia has been a major global supplier of diesel fuel, the global market has struggled to fill this void. As the demand for diesel remains strong, there is a lack of supply around the world.
“The diesel market is almost broken right now,” Schieldrop said. “It’s rather bleak and catastrophic for the diesel market.”
But market experts predict that the supply will start to improve a bit, and the situation should improve over time.
Heating oil is related to diesel, so heating homes with oil has cost significantly more in recent months. Home heating oil prices are now well above $6 a gallon statewide.
“We’re not in home heating oil season, so the hope is that by the fall, when we get to the colder months, some of these supply issues will be somewhat resolved,” Schieldrop said. . “If diesel drops in the summer, that will be a good sign for heating oil prices.”
Meanwhile, regular gasoline prices have risen again over the past week. The average for a gallon of regular gasoline in Massachusetts is now $4.24, up 12 cents from last week. The average price in Suffolk County is now $4.36, while the regular gasoline price is $5.36 in Nantucket.
“Oil remains stubbornly high, above $100 a barrel,” Schieldrop said. “And we’re in for that kind of expected increase as we head into the summer driving season.
“It usually peaks in mid-May,” he added. “So we might start to see some relief once we get through May.”