The Energy Information Administration yesterday reported that residential heating oil prices were on the increase as the nation moves through the fall months. For the period ending October 8, 2012, residential heating oil prices increased to $3.98 per gallon, up $.02 per gallon last week. The price represents a $.29 increase from one year ago.
Wholesale heating oil prices increased $.01 per gallon last week bringing the price of a gallon of wholesale heating oil to $3.28. This represents a $.33 increase from last year.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices also saw increases, with the national average price for gasoline topping at $3.85 per gallon, an increase of $.43 from last year. The West Coast saw a historical one week increase at the gas pumps with gasoline prices increasing $.33 to $4.41 per gallon. In Los Angeles, residents saw a one week increase of $.50 for a gallon of gas.
Residents in the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain states experienced some relief last week as they saw average prices at the pump fall by $.02 per gallon. Gulf Coast residents saw average gas prices of $3.54 per gallon while Rocky Mountain residents pumped gas for $3.75 per gallon.
The gas price shock in California stimulated political action and reaction as federal and state officials chimed in on the crunch Californians are experiencing in their wallets and pocketbooks. On October 10th, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Jon Leibowitz, said, “The Commission is keenly aware of recent gasoline price spikes in California, and fully appreciates the strain that high gasoline prices place on individual consumers who have less money for other necessities, and on the economy as a whole. We are committed to ensuring competitive energy markets through the enforcement of the antitrust laws, and the new authority Congress gave us to address manipulative practices. We will remain vigilant in our oversight responsibility, and if we see a violation of the laws that we enforce, we won’t hesitate to act.”
The New York Times reported that California Governor Jerry Brown ordered the California Air Resources Board to take steps that would increase the supply of fuel in the state. In addition, the Board was to require that refineries start distributing a winter blend of gasoline not usually sold until November.
The EIA releases its next weekly report on October 17, 2012