Higher Diesel Availability Means Lower Prices

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For drivers that burn diesel, it's been quite a while since the price for that fuel was cheaper than gasoline.

But according to the AAA's fuel gauge reports today's average price in Bismarck for a gallon of gas rings in at $2.84 comparing to the $2.70 for diesel.

It's hard to remember the last time a gallon of diesel was cheaper than gasoline.

"I think it's been a decade since we've seen this. Maybe back to around the financial crisis," said Mike Rud, North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association.

Rud says there are several factors that are contributing to this downward trend in diesel prices. One of them has to do with the slowdown in the Bakken.

"Suddenly it disappears, so now here you sit with all this diesel fuel that you have to move and as a result of that the markets gotten soft in terms of pricing," Rud said. "It's been good for both consumers and the retailers."

There were 40 million fewer gallons of diesel sold in April than in March. That accounts for on road sales, at gas stations, and off road sales; typically from farmers and oil patch workers.

"The seasonality of the farming is now ramping up the competition for that fuel is backing off," said Eugene Graner, Heartland Investor Services.

And the opening of the Dakota Prairie Refinery in Dickinson added more diesel to the market.

"But the big one is that we now have two refineries that in North Dakota make diesel fuel," Graner said.

Midwest Motor Express has 400 trucks on roads around the midwest, but their president Marlin King says the price of diesel is, "Probably not as important as you think it is."

To keep a stable price in an ever-changing market, the company has a fuel service charge for customers.

"If the cost of fuel goes down they get the benefit of that. If it goes up they obviously have to pay more," King said.

For now, diesel prices will likely stay lower before the demand picks up for farmers in the fall, and oil producers crank up the activity in the state's oilfields.

On this date last year a gallon of diesel in Bismarck would have cost almost $4.