Frequently Asked Questions

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 have 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 tax for on-highway diesel fuel of 24.4 cents/gallon is 6 cents per gallon higher than the federal tax on gasoline.

Learn more:

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?
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 20th, 2009 and March 26th, 2008 editions discuss this FAQ topic in more detail.

Last updated: February 28, 2017


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