Where Are Fuel Prices Going This Fall?

Elevated input costs remain a top concern for agriculture producers, because it tightens up profit margins. One of the key input costs during fall harvest — the price of fuel.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, a technology company that tracks prices at gas stations across the country, says the price of diesel is a gloomy forecast. Prices see upward pressure as temperatures cool and heating oil is needed for home furnaces.

“The average price of diesel in Wisconsin has risen from about $4.11 a month ago to about $4.21 a gallon today,” he says. “The worry is that as we get into fall, we are going to start seeing heating oil demand go up, and heating oil and diesel are essentially the same product, and that’s going to put upward pressure on the price of diesel.”

De Haan adds that refineries are also slowing down for maintenance this time of year.

“We are going to start seeing refineries doing maintenance ahead of the peak of winter, and so that may limit their ability to make sure that we have enough supply before we get into the peak of heating oil season,” he explains. “I would foresee that diesel prices would likely continue to advance probably more so in October than September.”

When it comes to filling up your car – De Haan says those prices will look better after this weekend, when retailers make the switch to winter gasoline. But he says it’s not smooth sailing from there.

“There’s still some bumps in the road. We are still in the midst of hurricane season. Hurricanes have, in years past, made an impact on refinery operations,” he warns, noting that Hurricane Lee is making its way toward eastern New England.