Diesel slides below $5 a gallon for the first time since March

Oil Refinery In Salt Lake Receives Crude Oil Shipments For Processing
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 24: Trucks line up to fill their tankers with gas and diesel to deliver to stations at Marathon Refinery on May 24, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Reports are saying that gas and diesel prices will continue to rise through the summer driving season. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Originally Published: 18 AUG 22 11:44 ET

(CNN) — The cost of diesel has tumbled from record highs, easing inflationary pressure on everything from trucking and farming to construction.

The national average for diesel dipped slightly below $5 a gallon on Thursday for the first time since March 9, according to AAA.

At $4.999, diesel prices have declined 82 cents since hitting a record high of $5.82 on June 19.

The spike in diesel prices this spring set off alarm bells because it is a key fuel for the entire US economy, powering not only farm and construction equipment but also the trucks, trains and boats that move goods across the country. Virtually everything consumers buy is at some point shipped on a truck that runs on diesel. Businesses typically pass along at least some of those rising fuel costs onto consumers.

The White House was so concerned about the price surge that in May US officials considered releasing diesel from a rarely used emergency stockpile to ease the supply crunch. Ultimately, the Biden administration opted not to tap the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, which only stores about a day’s worth of supply for the region.

Gasoline prices also continue to drop.

The national average for regular gas fell to $3.93 a gallon Thursday, according to AAA. That marks the 65th consecutive day of declining prices since gas hit a record high of $5.02 in mid-June. Prices in 14 states, including Florida and Iowa, are averaging less than $3.60 a gallon.

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