Fuel Prices Rise
Cold weather, civil unrest overseas help push up fuel prices
The U.S. average retail pump price for diesel in the U.S. crossed the $4 per gallon mark this week, while average retail pump prices for gasoline shot up over 15 cents per gallon over the last two weeks, due to colder-than-normal winter weather combined with civil unrest affecting Ukraine in Europe, Venezuela in South America, and the South Sudan in Africa.
In particular, cold winter temperatures across much of the nation are driving up energy demand. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains have been significantly colder this winter (October 2013 thru January 2014 ) compared with the same period both last winter and the previous 10-year average, putting upward pressure on consumption and prices of fuels used for space heating.
The agency also noted in its most recent Short Term Energy Outlook report that U.S. average heating degree days were 12% higher than last winter (indicating colder weather) and 8% above the previous 10-year average. In terms of temperatures, EIA said data indicated the Northeast was 11% colder than last winter, the Midwest 17% colder, and the South 20% colder, while the West was 3% warmer.