The state’s latest fuel price survey confirms the price of gasoline is on the decline. Alan Goldberg, the supervisor of the energy section in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the refinery shutdowns and lost crude oil and natural gas production due to Hurricane Rita combined to drive energy prices higher in late September, but by October 15, prices were falling.
Regular gasoline blended with ethanol in Iowa sold for an average price of $2.52 per gallon on October 15th. That’s 20 cents lower than last month, but 24 percent higher than this time last year. However, farmers and truckers are paying even more for diesel. On October 15th, diesel fuel was selling for an average price of $3.13 per gallon, a new record high. That’s up 41 cents higher than the price a month earlier. It’s a full dollar higher than the price of a gallon of diesel on October 15th of last year.
“It’s a simple case of supply and demand,” Goldberg says. Analysts warn that the price of diesel, and gasoline, could go up again with the threat Hurricane Wilma poses to the Gulf Coast. The state has released another fuel-related statistic: 75 percent of all the gasoline sold by Iowa retailers in September was an ethanol-blend.
In Ames, ethanol-blended gas was selling for $2.68 a gallon on September 15th and a month later it was selling for $2.33. That’s a 35-cents-per-gallon drop. In Fort Dodge, ethanol was selling for 28 cents less a gallon on October 15th compared to the price in mid-September. Sioux City retailers sold the ethanol-blend for about 10-cents-a-gallon less in mid-October compared to the month before.