A Comparison of Selected
EIA-782 Data With Other Data Sources
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A Comparison of EIA-782 Data
With Other Data Sources
Posted: June 23, 2004
Next Update: June 2006
Comparison of Selected EIA-782 Data
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) EIA-782 survey series collects data on petroleum markets to fulfill legislative mandates from Congress and to provide comprehensive information for evaluating market behavior. It includes three surveys: Form EIA-782A, “Refiners’/Gas Plant Operators’ Monthly Petroleum Product Sales Report;” Form EIA-782B, “Resellers’/Retailers’ Monthly Petroleum Product Sales Report;” and Form EIA-782C, “Monthly Report of Prime Supplier Sales of Petroleum Products Sold for Local Consumption.” Any reference to the EIA-782 prices refers to the series that includes both the EIA-782A and EIA-782B surveys. Any reference to the EIA-782 volumes refers to the EIA-782C survey series. Any reference to the specific survey is identified as such. This article compares the data from the EIA-782 survey series with other sources to assess the quality of the EIA-782 data. Significant differences and trends among data series may indicate the need for changes in data collection and processing, the reporting population, survey or sample design, or may simply reflect conceptual differences across surveys.
The data sources used to compare with the EIA-782 series include:
A more detailed description of each data source is contained in the Notes section at the end of this article.
The EIA-782 prices track closely with other EIA surveys and OPIS prices while the BLS prices are higher than EIA-782 prices. The EIA-782C volume data were compared with data from other EIA surveys and the FHWA data series. The EIA-782C volumes for motor gasoline and distillate fuel follow closely with the other data series. However, the EIA-782C residual fuel volumes are significantly below the levels shown by other EIA surveys. The following sections of this article discuss the differences among the price and volume data sources for No. 2 distillate fuel oil and diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene-type jet fuel, and residual fuel.
Tables FE1 – FE6 show that EIA-782 retail prices follow the other data series closer than the comparisons of EIA-782 resale prices with the other resale prices series. Both EIA-782 retail and resale prices were generally lower than the other price series. Retail EIA-782 prices include data from both the EIA-782A and EIA-782B surveys. Resale EIA-782 prices are from only the EIA-782A survey. Differences in the survey methodology for each of the data series explain some of the price differences.
Residential No. 2 Fuel Oil
Table FE1 shows BLS prices are 3 to 5 percent higher than EIA-782 prices from 1995 through 2003. The difference between the two series widened from 3 to 5 percent after 1999 and then declined to the usual 3 percent level after 2001. BLS prices are obtained from urban areas only and do not reflect complete geographic coverage for this product. EIA-782 prices are volume weighted price estimates.
No. 2 Fuel Oil Resale
Table FE2 shows BLS wholesale prices vary widely with EIA-782A resale prices between a range of 5 to 14 percent higher than EIA-782A. The differential between the series has decreased during the past 2 years. One possible reason is that the EIA-782A prices are current period volume weighted averages, and larger volume sales by refiners at lower prices receive greater weight in calculating EIA-782A prices. The BLS prices are calculated using weights derived from other (non-current) time periods. BLS does adjust their weights on a monthly basis.
On-Highway Diesel Fuel
Table FE3 shows the annual estimates for EIA-782, EIA-888, and OPIS retail on-highway diesel fuel prices from 1995-2003. EIA-782, EIA-888, and OPIS prices vary mostly by 1 to 2 percent and track closely over this time period. Although State and Federal diesel fuel taxes were subtracted from the OPIS and EIA-888 prices, no adjustment was made for local sales taxes, and additional State and/or local taxes relating for environmental regulations and transportation use.
OPIS prices are a compilation of different sources obtained from several credit card issuers and do not reflect complete sales coverage for this product. Outlets from leading truckstop chains, as well as outlets participating in a price and credit reporting service report daily retail prices to OPIS. Approximately 4,500 price quotes are reported daily. In this article, the annual OPIS prices at the U.S. level were calculated using simple arithmetic means based on an average of the prices reported on Monday of each week of the year.
The EIA-888 prices are based on a sample of 350 outlets. The sample uses a probability proportional to size sampling technique. The U.S. average is calculated using a weighted average of the regional prices where the weights are volumes reported on another EIA survey at the time of sample selection.
Diesel Fuel Resale
Table FE4 shows the annual estimates for EIA-782A resale and BLS wholesale prices for No. 2 diesel fuel. BLS prices are consistently higher with the difference doubling from 7% in 2002 to 14% in 2003. This product category contains prices for both low and high sulfur diesel fuel. The EIA-782A volume weighted averages reflect the relative importance of these two sulfur categories reported by refiners in the calculation of the average price.
Motor Gasoline - Retail
Table FE5 shows the annual estimates for EIA-782, EIA-878, and BLS retail prices from 1994-2003. This paper only discusses the prices for regular grade gasoline. BLS prices vary between 5 and 8 percent above the EIA-782 prices. EIA-878 prices vary between 1 and 6 percent above EIA-782 prices during the same time period. Even though both BLS and EIA-878 prices have been adjusted for federal and state taxes, these prices still contain additional taxes relating to local sales taxes and highway use taxes that could not be removed for this analysis. As a result, the EIA-782 prices should be lower than these other series.
The annual BLS prices were calculated using an average of monthly prices. The BLS monthly prices are calculated based on approximately 900 price quotes. Approximately 25 to 35 prices are collected from outlets in each published geographic area. EIA-782 prices represent all sales transactions through company-operated outlets by all refiners and a sample of resellers/retailers throughout the U.S. There are limitations in comparing a simple average data series with a volume weighted average price series across months because of the effect of volume changes throughout the year on the annual price estimate.
The EIA-878 also uses fixed volume weights for calculating U.S. prices based on approximately 800 price quotes each week. Separate outlet weights are used based on the sampled outlet's number of pumps, a proxy for sales volume, to obtain weekly averages for the specific formulations, grades and geographic areas. The weights used in aggregating grades, formulations and geographic areas are derived using volume data from the EIA-782C “Monthly Report of Prime Suppliers Sales of Petroleum Products Sold for Local Consumption,” and demographic data from the Bureau of the Census and Department of Transportation on population, number of gasoline stations and number of vehicles. A simple average of weekly prices was calculated to obtain the annual average price. The EIA-782 prices utilize all sales transactions throughout the reference month, whereas the EIA-878 prices are Monday morning prices as of 8:00 A.M.
Motor Gasoline - Resale
Table FE6 shows the annual estimates for EIA-782A and BLS resale motor gasoline prices from 1994 – 2003. Except for 1994, the BLS prices vary between 1 and 3 percent from the EIA-782A during this ten-year period. The data track closely during 1998 – 2002 despite increased price volatility in the gasoline markets during this time period. The difference widened during 2003 when there were strong price increases in gasoline markets.
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel - Resale
Table FE7 shows the annual estimates for EIA-782A refiner resale kerosene-type jet fuel prices and BLS wholesale kerosene-type jet fuel prices from 1994 – 2003. The two price series vary between 1 and 5 percent during 1994 – 1998. The price differential narrows after 1998 and remains stable at approximately 1 percent. BLS wholesale prices are expected to be similar to EIA-782A resale prices since EIA kerosene-type jet fuel prices are collected from a census of refiners on Form EIA-782A and BLS collects from a sample of refiners.
EIA-782C volumes are compared with volumes reported in the EIA-821, the PSA, and the FHWA data series. Product supplied in the PSA is an estimate of the demand for petroleum products. It is calculated by adding and subtracting volumes as they move in and out of the primary distribution stream. Sales volume data from the EIA-821 reflect the transfer of product title from a seller to a buyer whereas the EIA-782C measures sales into the States where the products are ultimately consumed. FHWA doesn’t collect actual sales data on gasoline and diesel fuel. States report their fuel volumes to FHWA based on the beginning inventory at the terminal facility minus exports plus shipments to the terminal during the reporting cycle. The difference in survey populations, concepts and methodology underlie some of the differences that exist between the EIA-821, the PSA, and the FHWA data series.
Distillate Fuel Oil
Table FE8 shows volumes of distillate fuel oil for the EIA-782C, EIA-821, and PSA series from 1993 through 2002. EIA-782C volumes have been below EIA-821 volumes since 1993 and below PSA volumes since 1997. The differential continues to grow wider after 1999. Table FE8 also shows that the difference between the EIA-782C and EIA-821 volumes is greater than the difference between the EIA-782C and the PSA volumes.
All three data series show a decline in volume from 2001 – 2002. Although Table FE8 shows total distillate volumes, a closer review of the energy use sector volumes in the EIA-821 data series (not shown in this table) provide some explanation for the variation between the data series. EIA-821 data show that sales of distillate fuel oil declined in the industrial, commercial and electric power sectors as moderate natural gas prices reduced the opportunities and need for fuel switching from natural gas to distillate. One possible source for the widening gap between EIA-821 and EIA-782C volumes is the sales reported for on-highway use, which comprised 58% of all distillate sales in 2002 in the EIA-821 data series. The EIA-821 on-highway energy use sector shows an increase of approximately 27% since 1996 and is the largest component contributing to the increase in distillate volumes for that survey during the past 7 years. The EIA-821 volumes for on-highway use are obtained from the Federal Highway Administration and used in place of data reported for this category. However, some EIA-821 respondents may report sales to commercial and institutional fleet vehicles in the commercial use category rather than in the on-highway use category. If the commercial category contains some on-highway use volumes, and exogenous data are used to replace the data for on-highway use, then some double counting of distillate volumes for transportation use on the EIA-821 may occur. If sales to fleet vehicles, which are reported in the commercial category, are increasing at approximately the same rate as other distillate sales for other on-highway use, then the amount of double counting of distillate sales in the EIA-821 survey may also be increasing over the past seven years, and may contribute to any differences between the EIA-782C and EIA-821 data series.
Table FE9 shows volumes of motor gasoline from the EIA-782C, PSA, and FHWA series from 1993 through 2002.
EIA-782C and PSA
Table FE9 shows the differential between the EIA-782C volumes and the PSA volumes narrowed during the past ten years with the difference being within 1% since 1999. One reason the differential narrowed during the 1990s was that the PSA improved its coverage of downstream blending of finished motor gasoline by including gasoline blenders in the survey reporting population. Blending of fuel ethanol, methanol, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), and other blend stock with gasoline often occurs downstream from the refineries.
EIA-782C and FHWA
Table FE9 also shows that EIA-782C volumes generally track closely with the FHWA motor gasoline volumes and the differential has remained at 2 percent since 2000. FHWA estimates the gasoline consumption by the federal, state, and local government since these volumes are not taxed. Also, FHWA has various models to estimate non-highway use in each state. FHWA estimates federal government highway gasoline use based on information obtained from federal agencies. State-reported federal use of gasoline in excess of the FHWA estimate is presumed to be either civilian non-highway or military use and is eliminated from the Federal figure reported by the State. The constant level of the difference in volumes between these two series may be due to some under coverage of the market by the EIA-782C or differences in how FHWA estimates gasoline sales for off-highway and government use.
Residual Fuel Oil
Table FE10 shows volumes of residual fuel oil from the EIA-782C, EIA-821, and PSA from 1993 through 2002.
EIA-782C vs. PSA and EIA-821
Table FE10 shows the EIA-782C is significantly below the PSA and EIA-821 data series. The difference between the EIA-782C and the other two series is quite large and fluctuates relative to the EIA-782C from 11% in 1993 to a high of 37% in 2000. The gap between the EIA-782C and the EIA-821 has slightly declined since 2000 but there remains a significant gap of 25% in 2002. The gap between the EIA-782C and PSA data has remained at approximately 30% since 2001. The large and continuous divergence between the EIA-782C and the other two series indicates that the EIA-782C is missing some residual fuel oil sales.
Residual fuel oil sales plunged in 2002, with the EIA-782C volumes declining by 20%, EIA-821 declined by 24% and PSA declined by 21%. Although Table FE10 shows total residual fuel volumes, a closer review of the energy use sector volumes in the EIA-821 data series (not shown in this table) provide some explanation for the variation between the data series. Environmental regulations restricting fuel use, abundant supplies and moderate prices for natural gas prices all contributed to the sharp decline in residual fuel sales. The EIA-821 data series shows electric power and vessel bunkering, the largest categories for residual fuel, falling by 37% and 10% respectively, during 2002. The gap between the EIA-782C and the EIA-821 narrowed by 7% but the gap between the EIA-782C and PSA remained approximately the same between 2001 and 2002. The narrowing of the large gap between the EIA-782C and the EIA-821 from 2001 to 2002 suggests that the sales related to fuel switching from natural gas to residual fuel that occurred on a large scale during 2001 may contribute to the divergence between the EIA-782C and the EIA-821 and PSA data series.
Table FE11 compares the EIA-782C and EIA-821 volumes for 2000 – 2002 across the five PADD regions. The data show that during this time period, the 782C data are missing significant volumes in PAD Sub-district 1C and in PADDs 2 and 3. Although, the EIA-782C volumes are approximately 3 times as high as the EIA-821 volumes in PADD 4, PADD 4 is the smallest market with approximately 3% of total US residual fuel sales. Sub-district 1C comprises approximately 25% of U.S. residual fuel sales and PADD 3 constitutes approximately 15%. Additional research is needed, mainly in PAD Sub-district 1C and PADD 3, to determine the causes for the divergence between the EIA-782C and EIA-821 data series.
The EIA-782 petroleum product prices were compared with alternative sources from other EIA surveys, BLS, and OPIS prices. The EIA-782 prices tracked closely with other EIA surveys and OPIS prices. BLS prices were higher than EIA-782 prices, and the price differences widened in 2003 across all products. Some difference was expected between the two resale price series because EIA collects prices from a census of refiners and BLS collects prices from a sample of refiners. The EIA-782C volume data were compared with data from other EIA surveys and the FHWA series. The EIA-782C volumes for motor gasoline and distillate fuel track closely with the other data series. However, the EIA-782C residual fuel volumes are significantly below the levels shown by other EIA surveys. The large difference between the EIA-782C residual fuel volumes and the other data sources requires further investigation into the reporting practices of the EIA-782C respondents for this product. Other differences exist among the data sources because of different reporting populations, geographic and/or market coverage, survey design, methodology, reference period intervals, and product and energy-use sector definitions.
The Form EIA-782A, "Refiners'/Gas Plant Operators' Monthly Petroleum Product Sales Report," collects monthly price and volume data at the State level for 14 petroleum products for various retail and wholesale marketing categories. It is a census of refiners and gas plant operators. The frame is updated on an ongoing basis using respondent lists from surveys such as the Form EIA-810, "Monthly Refinery Report;" the Form EIA-816, "Monthly Natural Gas Liquids Report;" and industry trade publications. Currently, 110 companies respond to the EIA-782A survey.
The Form EIA-782B, "Resellers'/Retailers' Monthly Petroleum Product Sales Report," is sent to a sample of resellers and retailers of motor gasoline, distillate, propane, and residual fuel oil. Respondents to Form EIA-863, "Petroleum Product Sales Identification Survey," are used as the sampling frame of resellers and retailers for the EIA-782B. Firms having 5 percent or more of sales in a State are selected with certainty. The remaining companies on the frame are sampled using probability proportional to size methodology by geographic area, product, and type of sale. The EIA-782B sample includes approximately 2,000 companies.
The Form EIA-782C, "Monthly Report of Prime Supplier Sales of Petroleum Products Sold for Local Consumption," collects volumes of prime supplier sales of selected petroleum products into States where they are locally sold and consumed. A prime supplier is a firm that produces, imports, or transports any of the selected petroleum products across State boundaries and local marketing areas and sells the product to local distributors, local retailers, or end users. This survey provides an accurate measure of consumption in most States. Currently, 183 firms respond to the EIA-782C survey.
In addition, production, import, and export data collected by EIA’s Petroleum Division are published in the Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) and the Petroleum Supply Annual (PSA) . The Petroleum Division uses the Petroleum Supply Reporting System (PSRS) for data collection. The PSRS is composed of a family of data collection survey forms, data processing systems, and publications systems. Detailed data on refinery and natural gas plant operations, bulk terminal and pipeline stocks, petroleum products imports, and movements of petroleum products among Petroleum Administration for Defense (PAD) districts are collected monthly. Figures for product supply originate from Forms EIA-810, "Monthly Refinery Report;" EIA-811, "Monthly Bulk Terminal Report;" EIA-812, "Monthly Product Pipeline Report;" EIA-813, "Monthly Crude Oil Report;" EIA-814, "Monthly Imports Report;" EIA-816, "Monthly Natural Gas Liquids Report;" and EIA-817, "Monthly Tanker and Barge Movement Report." Aggregate export data obtained from the Bureau of the Census are also included in computations for the PSM and PSA. The PMA and the PSA may contain revisions of the data published in the PMM and the PSM, respectively, due to late submissions or revisions to the monthly data.
The Form EIA-821, "Annual Fuel Oil and Kerosene Sales Report," collects data on the sales to end users of distillate fuel oil, residual fuel oil, and kerosene. The sample size is approximately 4,000 for 2002. The data are used to determine the level of sales by energy-use category and product at the State, regional, and national levels. The sampling frame for the EIA-821 is also derived from the respondents to Form EIA-863. The EIA-863 is a quadrennial census used to collect information on size, type, and geographic location of firms selling petroleum products. Data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation replace EIA-821 data reported as on-highway diesel sales.
The Highway Statistics Division of the FHWA collects information related to highway transportation. Sales volumes of motor gasoline are published on a calendar year basis and are a cumulative tabulation of gross gallons of gasoline reported by wholesale distributors to State motor fuel tax agencies. The FHWA collects information on finished motor gasoline, with no distinction made among motor gasoline grades. The data include gasoline for both highway and non-highway use. The FHWA includes gasohol but excludes exports, fuels for military use, and dealer transfers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes the aggregate index for household fuels and its component indexes for motor fuels. Retail prices are collected monthly by BLS representatives in the urban areas, and support the estimation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Wholesale prices are collected monthly and support the estimation of the Producer Price Index (PPI).
The CPI and PPI use fixed volume weights to measure the change in price over time. The CPI measures the change in prices for a defined market basket of goods and services and the PPI measures the change in prices received by domestic producers for their output. Approximately 900 retail prices are collected for regular grade gasoline in approximately 87 urban areas across the country and include all taxes directly associated with the purchase and the use of the items. The 87 areas cover 39 States and the District of Columbia . The PPI collects prices from a sample of domestic refiners. Although most PPI prices are collected on one particular day of the month, the prices for refined petroleum products are commonly an average of prices during the first 10 working days of the month, or the prices received by oil refineries on the 10 th working day of each month.