An increase in global demand for urea is behind an impending price increase for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in the U.S., according to Integer Research, which tracks DEF prices via its DiscoverDEF website.

While the average pump price for DEF in the U.S. held at $2.74 per gallon between March and April this year, after declining one cent between February and March, a big uptick in bulk and tote pricing is projected to occur during the first half of May – by as much as 21 cents per gallon, Chris Goodfellow, emissions analyst at Integer, told Fleet Owner.

That’s because agricultural demand for urea – the base chemical used to produce both DEF and crop fertilizer – is increasing because of the season and a better than expected moisture factor, he said.

“At the moment DEF pump prices have proved more resilient to increases in raw material costs,” Goodfellow explained. “This is in part because national truck stop chains set prices for their locations in particular regions or states, and there is some lag in the reassessment of these prices.”

For example, he noted that the Love’s truck stop chain has held its bulk DEF pricing in a number of states at $2.59 per gallon for several months, despite an increase in demand – and thus the cost – for urea.

Integer also noted that 26 truck stops added bulk DEF facilities between March and April this year, bringing the total number of truck stops offering DEF at fuel islands to 477 across North America – including five in Canada – with 6,519 retail locations offering DEF in smaller packages, such as gallon jugs.