While gasoline prices have recently spiked to all-time highs, drivers who rely on diesel fuel haven’t seen as much relief at the pump either. The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has trailed the price for a gallon of diesel fuel for the past several years. And on-highway diesel fuel prices have been higher than regular grade gasoline prices for the past several years.

So, why is diesel fuel more expensive than gasoline?

Stronger Demand for Diesel in Other Countries

While the U.S. remains reliant on gasoline (approximately 92% of vehicles in America are powered by gasoline), demand for diesel fuel in other countries remains high. More European vehicles use diesel fuel while growing and developing countries like India and China have placed a greater demand on diesel fuel supplies.


Taxes also factor into the higher costs for diesel fuel. The federal tax on diesel fuel is more than gasoline per gallon. The last tax increase came in the early 1990s, when diesel fuel generally cost less than gasoline.

Transition to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD)

ULSD is a clean-burning diesel fuel that was gradually phased into the market between 2006 and 2010, replacing on-highway diesel fuel, known as Low Sulfur Diesel. The environmental benefits of ULSD are huge but they bring extra costs. To produce ULSD, the refining industry had to invest approximately $8 billion into infrastructure. The daily refining costs for ULSD are also higher. All of this influences the cost of diesel fuel.

Investing in Performance

Investing in your fuel, beyond the typical #2 diesel, helps take your operation to the next level. It lowers the amount of fuel you are actually using through clean, efficient engine operation. Using premium diesel fuels, like CENEX ROADMASTER XL®, can save money by reducing downtime, extending equipment life and improving fuel economy.

Cenex Roadmaster XL includes an industry-leading additive package that removes and prevents carbon deposits in the fuel injectors for optimum engine performance, decreased fuel consumption and increased fuel efficiency. In addition, this precise formulation provides enhanced lubricity and injector-cleaning capabilities compared to standard #2 diesel. Lubricity reduces friction, which extends the life of the fuel pump and reduces downtime.  Finally, Cenex premium diesel fuel has a higher cetane number providing a shorter ignition delay, quicker starts and less pollution. 

Contact your local Cenex dealer with more questions.


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