Diesel follows gasoline to the $2 per gallon mark

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The average retail price for diesel fuel dipped below $2 per gallon this week for the first time in more than a decade, federal analysts announced on Wednesday. 

Diesel prices averaged $1.98 a gallon around the U.S. on Feb. 15, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, the first time that has happened since 2005. The agency attributed the low prices to declining crude oil prices and high levels of crude and refined oil stored around the world. 

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Diesel fuel is the latest petroleum product to hit the $2 mark. U.S. gasoline prices fell below $2 per gallon in late December, the first time since 2009. The EIA expects the average price of gasoline to stay below $2 in 2016.  

As consumers enjoy low fuel prices, oil producers around the world are grappling with steep declines in profit. Two major oil producers — Saudi Arabia and Russia — said this week that they would look to cap their production as a way to boost, or at least stabilize, oil prices on the global market. 

Prices for diesel fuel rose above the $2 per gallon threshold in 2005, though they’ve come close to dipping below it since then, most recently in 2009. 

Diesel tends to be more expensive than gasoline, the EIA said, because of stronger global demand, higher federal taxes and the higher cost of production. 

The agency said it expects diesel prices to stay low through 2016 and 2017, averaging $2.22 per gallon and $2.58 per gallon, respectively. The average price in 2015 was $2.71 per gallon. 

Gasoline prices are expected to be similarly low, the EIA said earlier this month, down from $2.43 per gallon last year to $1.98 per gallon in 2016.