The movement in diesel fuel prices has had a strong impact in a variety of industries that makes use of diesel not only in running machinery, but also in transporting goods. This is because the use of diesel in transportation and energy underlie a huge number of functions in everyday life. Majority of delivery trucks, public transport vehicles like trains, buses, boats, ships and barges, and even construction and farming equipment, make use of engines that run on diesel fuel. This means that as the prices of diesel fuel soar, the costs required in facilitating the activities of which these vehicles and equipment take part in also increase. This either reduces the amount of profit these industries can have, or makes them have to choose the unfortunate option of levying costs on the retail prices they offer their consumers.
Regardless, anyone who has a stake in the way diesel prices change or move should at least attempt to understand what drives these fuel prices from going up or going down. By understanding what drives these movements and how the prices are determined, one is able to better foresee and interpret the various economic indicators that usually point to a time of increases in prices and the like.
In order to determine how fuel prices are derived, its important to first look at the costs associated with its production for availability in the retail market. The first cost to take into consideration is the cost of buying crude oil. Crude oil is the primary ingredient required in the production of a variety of fuels, including diesel fuel, gasoline, and even distillate heating oil. Crude oil prices are traded in the international market, which subjects it to the dynamics of international supply and demand. The limited supply of available crude oil from oil-producing countries, and the growing need or demand for energy worldwide has helped maintained competitive prices in the industry.
Next, crude oil enters the process of refining. This is the stage where crude oil is processed into the different forms of fuel it will become. Gasoline and diesel fuel primarily differ in the refining process that is used for it. Originally, better-refined gasoline was more expensive than diesel fuel; however, the costs of processing gasoline were overrun by the price impact of excess demand for diesel fuel. Diesel fuel and distillate heating oil, on the other hand, are processed using the same refining process. This is the reason why the increase in prices in one affects and increases the prices of the other.
Costs in order to bring the refined oil to the market both marketing and distribution also add material and at times, expensive costs to diesel fuel. This is because the transportation of oil, the marketing and advertising operations of the oil firms, and the manpower necessary to run all these operations, all involve costs that the company must incur in order to sell the final refined oil product to the market. Gasoline stations from where people get both gasoline and diesel fuel also incur costs for operations, a part of which is also levied on the retail prices of refined oil.
Over and above these production costs, governments levy taxes on oil products, creating greater impetus to increase fuel prices. It is the combination of these cost contributors that determine the dynamics of diesel fuel prices in the retail market.