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Global Crude Oil Prices Continue Impact on Iowa Consumers

For more information contact:

For more information contact:



Don Tormey, 515.725.0428,

Kay Snyder, 515.725.3150,


Global Crude Oil Prices Continue Impact on Iowa Consumers


DES MOINES (March 15, 2011) — Global crude oil prices steadily increased for several weeks as markets reacted to the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, however, prices have recently declined and in the wake of the devastation in Japan. In the short term, disruption of Japan’s economic activity, the world’s third largest economy and oil consumer, is likely to lessen demand, but upward pressure on crude oil prices could resume as Japan’s rebuilding efforts will require a renewed need for oil.

Despite the activity on the world stage impacting crude oil prices, consumers in Iowa haven’t seen any material declines in retail gasoline prices. In the previous month, gasoline prices posted the second largest two-week increase with a state-wide average price of $3.51 per gallon for regular unleaded reported on March 15, 2011.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration (EIA), motorists currently experiencing a jump in pump prices will likely see further increases nationally from now through the spring since the recent increase in crude oil prices has not yet been fully passed through to gasoline prices. The EIA expects the retail price of regular-grade motor gasoline to average $3.56 per gallon in 2011, 77 cents per gallon higher than the 2010 average.

Motor Fuels
Monthly reporting shows the average price of 10 percent, ethanol blended mid-grade gasoline in Iowa to be $3.43 per gallon as of March 15th, which is a 12.1 percent increase from the February 2011 price of $3.06. The average price for diesel in Iowa on March 15th was $3.83 per gallon, which is a 10.4 percent increase from the February price of $3.47 a gallon. For Iowa metro area averages, visit: .






Regular Unleaded with 10% Ethanol




Regular Unleaded




Premium Unleaded












Source: Oil Price Information Service,




Crude Oil

On March 14th, a barrel of West Texas Cushing Sweet Crude Oil closed at $101.19, which is a 19.3 percent increase compared to the February 14, 2011 price of $84.81 and 26.8 percent higher than the March 2010 price of $79.80.

Heating Fuels

On March 14th, natural gas was trading at $3.905/MMBtu, which is $0.41 lower than a year ago, or a 9.4 percent decline, and a 0.26 percent increase from February’s price of $3.895/MMBtu.  The EIA also reports that working natural gas in storage as of March 4th was 1,674 Billion cubic feet (Bcf), a 1.3 percent increase than the 5-year average (2006-2010) and 1.9 percent higher than the level during the corresponding week last year. EIA estimates that natural gas working inventories are expected to remain relatively high through 2011 but expects the natural gas market to begin to tighten in 2012.

The average price for Iowa heating oil increased by $0.42 per gallon last month, to reach $3.54 per gallon on March 14th, while the average Iowa propane price increased by $0.05 a gallon during the same period to reach $1.85 per gallon.

To limit the financial impact of fluctuating energy prices, Iowa consumers should take advantage of programs to make improvements to their homes’ and vehicles’ energy efficiency. Tips for saving energy and money at home and on the road are available at . To review monthly fuel price information reports, please visit: .



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Iowa Economic Development Authority
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Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Phone: 1.515.348.6200
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