Russia increases oil output; diesel on the rise

| Tuesday, August 28, 2001

At the same time the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is seeking to cut back on oil output, Russia, the world's second-largest oil exporter, is increasing production with the opening of two new pipeline systems. The decision comes as diesel fuel prices in the United States have continued to escalate in recent weeks.

The announcement threatens OPEC's efforts to bolster the price of oil and could drop fuel prices, the New York Times reported. Oil revenues are crucial for the Russian economy, and together with natural gas sales, make up about half of its export earnings.

Russia has increased production by 7 percent or 466,000 barrels per day this year, while OPEC has scaled back 13 percent. By 2005, Russian exports could increase by as much as 45 percent, according to estimates.

The weekly retail on-highway diesel prices released by the Energy Department Monday (Aug. 27) show the cost of diesel fuel jumped for the third straight week, despite Russia's announcement for increased production. The national average price per gallon is $1.45 - up about 5.5 cents from a week ago.

The cost of fuel climbed across the nation with the steepest increase from a week ago in the Midwest region. Diesel there skyrocketed more than 11 cents to $1.52 per gallon on average.

Fuel in the state of California continues to be the most expensive. The price per gallon there jumped about 5.5 cents to $1.57.

The lowest prices nationally are in the Lower Atlantic region. Fuel there increased only slightly to $1.35 per gallon.

The remaining regions' price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.39; New England, $1.46; Central Atlantic, $1.45; Gulf Coast, $1.36; Rocky Mountain, $1.45; and West Coast, $1.54, respectively.

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