Crude oil prices are very high even though inventories are building. PADD 2 is above the average range along with two other PADDS and the national average. Refiners are importing crude oil, but rather than refining it, they are storing it even though refinery margins for gasoline and diesel fuel are relatively high. As a result, there is an increase in crude oil inventories, even as strong product demand is contributing to high prices. The build in crude oil inventories may help prices from being as high this coming winter as they could be without this extra inventory.
Records were broken this week for both gasoline and diesel prices in the state and metros. Nebraska's retail gasoline price rose 8 cents from last week to $2.65, which was 76 cents higher than the price at this time last year. Since the beginning of the month, prices have increased 38 cents per gallon higher. Metro prices ranged from $2.57 in Norfolk to $2.69 in North Platte. As of August 19, the Midwest gasoline stock level had plunged below the normal range with 46.3 million barrels.
Nebraska's diesel average increased 3 cents from last week to $2.60 per gallon. According to the weekly price report, this week's state average was 71 cents higher than the price at this time last year. Metro prices ranged from $2.55 in Columbus to $2.64 in Kearney. On the supply side, the Midwest distillate fuel inventory level was in the normal range with 22.2 million barrels as of August 19.
Last year, Nebraska gasoline prices rose above diesel prices in February. This crossover finally took place this week for the year 2005. Usually the relationship between weekly gasoline and diesel fuel prices has shown a clear seasonal pattern. During the summer driving season of April through September, gasoline prices move above diesel fuel prices and, during the winter heating season of October through March, diesel fuel prices have a premium over gasoline prices.
An archive of this report and historical weekly prices are available.