Why is Diesel More Expensive than Gasoline?

diesel prices long island, ny Most motorists only notice the price of diesel when they see it listed alongside unleaded gas at the pump. The price is always higher — sometimes significantly so.

But if you’re a business owner who needs diesel to fuel a construction site, farm or vehicle fleet, the price and availability of this fuel are crucial to your bottom line. Last year saw both diesel and gasoline prices surge, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Though gasoline is getting closer to normal levels, diesel prices remain stubbornly high.

Why is diesel so much pricier than gasoline?

The team at Burt’s Reliable delivers diesel to businesses and vehicle fleets throughout Suffolk County. We can offer some insight into the differing trends, regulations and production processes that lead to diesel being more expensive.

The difference between diesel and gasoline

Diesel and gasoline are both distillates of crude oil, but they have some significant physical differences. Here are some notable ones:

  • Diesel is a denser fuel. Gasoline evaporates in the open air, but diesel does not.
  • Diesel is combustible but not flammable. You need to apply pressure and heat to ignite it. Gasoline only requires a spark to combust.
  • Gasoline has a much shorter shelf life than diesel. Gas will start to deteriorate in three to six months, while diesel can last a year or more.
  • Diesel produces 10 to 20 percent more energy in combustion than gasoline. As such, diesel engines get better mileage than gas engines.

Why diesel is generally more expensive

Three main factors contribute to diesel costing more than gasoline.

1. Taxes

On-road diesel is taxed much higher than gasoline. The federal motor fuel excise tax is 18.4 cents per gallon for gas. It’s 24.4 cents per gallon for on-road diesel. There are state taxes too, which hit diesel harder than gasoline on average.

2. Production costs

In the early 2000s, diesel was actually cheaper than gasoline. But then the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changed emissions standards. The EPA required diesel to significantly lower its sulfur content. Today, pretty much all diesel is ultra-low sulfur —only 15 parts per million. While this is great for its performance and environmental impact, it has significantly increased its production costs.

3. Supply and demand

Business runs on diesel. It’s an essential fuel for construction sites, large vehicles, trains and many other commercial uses. And the refining math is unforgiving. One barrel of crude oil only yields about 11-12 gallons of diesel, while that same barrel can produce 19-20 gallons of gasoline. Right now, there are just not enough refineries to meet global demand.

Burt’s Reliable is the North Fork’s commercial fuel leader.

Many commercial ventures count on diesel to stay productive and profitable. And Burt’s Reliable is the most trusted diesel provider on the North Fork and East End. If you’re sick of having your drivers line up at the pump, then give us a call. We can set up a customized diesel delivery plan (both on-road and off-road) to ensure you’re never without the fuel you need.

Let’s get started today — contact Burt’s Reliable for more information.