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WEX Says Fuel Prices Start New Year at Highest Average Retail Price Ever

January 07, 2013

PORTLAND, ME – WEX (formerly Wright Express) released their forecast for gasoline and diesel prices for the early part of this year, saying that 2013 is starting off with the highest average retail price ever. WEX said experts are predicting that 2013 will look similar to 2012 in terms of price trends, with prices staying stable but slightly higher in January and then increasing into the spring.

WEX said some experts believe the national average price could surpass $3.90 per gallon but they don’t believe it will pass $4 per gallon unless there is some kind of significant supply disruption.

Although prices are higher, WEX said demand has been soft, for example during the last 90 days of 2012, and many retail chains are reporting sales off by as much as 10% from their 2007 peak, and off 1-2% from 2012.

Diesel prices are starting the year at $3.90 per gallon, which is 10 cents over the same period last year. WEX noted that cold weather could push demand for heating oil up and thereby increase diesel fuel prices.

The chart below shows the pricing trend for gasoline and diesel over the last couple of years.

This chart shows retail gasoline and diesel prices from the end of 2010 to the end of last year. Chart courtesy WEX Inc.
This chart shows retail gasoline and diesel prices from the end of 2010 to the end of last year. Chart courtesy WEX Inc.

The next table shows the average price per gallon in December 2012 on a regional basis across the U.S.

Los AngelesCA$3.70$4.13
New OrleansLA$3.11$3.73
San FranciscoCA$3.69$4.28
St. LouisMO$3.02$3.70
National AverageUS$3.31$3.94
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