OPEC waits, diesel drops

| Wednesday, October 10, 2001

OPEC has announced it is waiting to see how the oil market reacts to U.S.-led attacks against Taliban rulers in Afghanistan before deciding whether to cut oil production. The cost of diesel dropped about 2 cents per gallon from a week ago.

In a meeting last month, OPEC decided against production cuts despite sliding oil prices. The oil cartel said it did not want to aggravate a fragile global economy after the Sept. 11 attacks.

A group of crudes monitored by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell $1.52 last week, closing at $19.96 a barrel Friday. OPEC has a price band system that requires the cartel to raise production by at least 500,000 barrels a day if the OPEC basket stays below $22 a barrel for 10 straight days. The mechanism would have been triggered Friday but the organization ignored it.

The weekly retail on-highway diesel prices released by the Energy Department Tuesday show the national average cost of diesel dipped .019 cents per gallon from last week to $1.371. Diesel has plummeted more than 15 cents over the past three weeks.

The biggest price drop was in the Rocky Mountain region. Diesel there fell 3 cents per gallon from a week ago to $1.47. The lowest prices in the nation continue to be found in the Lower Atlantic region. Fuel there dropped about 3 cents to $1.28 per gallon. The highest prices nationally are in the state of California. Diesel there is $1.48 per gallon - about 3 cents cheaper than last week. The remaining regions' price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.33; New England, $1.45; Central Atlantic, $1.41; Midwest, $1.40; Gulf Coast, $1.31; and West Coast, $1.44, respectively.

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