Why are diesel fuel prices higher than gasoline prices?
On-highway diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular-grade gasoline prices, on a dollar-per-gallon basis, almost continuously since September 2004. This trend is a break from the previous historical pattern of diesel fuel prices usually being lower than gasoline prices except in cold winters when demand for heating oil pushed diesel fuel prices higher. There are three main reasons why diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular gasoline prices in recent years:
- Demand for diesel fuel and other distillate fuel oils has been relatively high, especially in Europe, China, India, and the United States.
- The transition to less polluting, lower-sulfur diesel fuels in the United States affected diesel fuel production and distribution costs.
- The federal excise tax for on-highway diesel fuel of 24.3 cents per gallon is 6 cents per gallon higher than the federal excise tax on gasoline.
Historical U.S. motor gasoline and diesel fuel price data
What do I pay for in a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel?
What are the projections for U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel prices?
Energy Explained: Diesel Prices and Outlook
Average diesel retail price below gasoline price for first time in six years
Retail prices: diesel outpaces gasoline
This Week In Petroleum discusses petroleum markets. The May 20, 2009 and March 26, 2008 editions discuss this FAQ topic in more detail.
Last updated: February 4, 2021
Other FAQs about Prices
- How do I calculate diesel fuel surcharges?
- Does EIA have ethanol price data?
- What is the outlook for home heating fuel prices this winter?
- Why are diesel fuel prices higher than gasoline prices?
- How much tax do we pay on a gallon of gasoline and on a gallon of diesel fuel?
- Does EIA publish inflation-adjusted gasoline prices?
- Are prices published by EIA adjusted for inflation? ?
- Does EIA publish off-road diesel fuel prices?
- Where can I get help paying my utility bills?
- What are the different coal prices published by EIA?
- How much does it cost to generate electricity with different types of power plants?
- Does EIA publish electric utility rate, tariff, and demand charge data?
- What do I pay for in a gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel?
- Does EIA have historical gasoline prices for each state?
- What are the projections for U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel prices?
- What are Ccf, Mcf, Btu, and therms? How do I convert natural gas prices in dollars per Ccf or Mcf to dollars per Btu or therm?
- What is the price or cost of natural gas for U.S. electric power producers?
- Does EIA publish data on peak or hourly electricity generation, demand, and prices?
- Why am I being charged more for heating oil or propane than the price on EIA's website?
- Does EIA publish coking coal prices?
- Does EIA publish energy consumption and price data for cities, counties, or by zip code?
- Does EIA publish electricity consumption and price data by state and by utility?
- Does EIA publish gasoline prices by city, county, or zip code?
- What can I expect to pay for heating this winter?
- Does EIA have forecasts or projections for energy production, consumption, and prices for individual states?
- How do I compare the cost of heating fuels?