OPEC members moved swiftly
over the weekend to dispel notions that they were lowering their $22-$28 oil
price target, although they appear to be in no rush to slash output for the
fourth time this year. As OPEC continues to hold off on lowering its oil price,
the cost of diesel fell 3.5 cents per gallon from a week ago.
The Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries' basket price fell to a two-year low of $18.54 a barrel
last week, staying for the 19th straight day under the $22 a barrel lower
end of OPEC price target band. The market has made a 20 percent fall since
the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which worsened a sickly global
economy already taking its toll on fuel demand.
Cartel member Iran acted
quickly to stress that OPEC will continue to aim for $22-28. "I don't
think we need to change the band," Iranian Oil minister Bijan Zanganeh
told news reporters Sunday. "Most of the OPEC members believe that it
is a good range and we don't want to change."
OPEC ministers are scheduled
to meet Nov. 14 to review market conditions and production policy following
their recent decision to leave output at 23.2 million bpd for the time being.
The weekly retail on-highway
diesel prices released by the Energy Department Monday show the national average
cost of diesel has plummeted more than 21 cents over the past five weeks to
$1.318 - the cheapest fuel has been nationally since January 2000.
The biggest price drop
was in the Midwest region. Diesel there dipped about 4.5 cents per gallon
from last week to $1.329.
The lowest prices in
the nation are found in the Lower Atlantic region. Fuel there dropped 3 cents
to $1.239 per gallon.
The highest prices nationally
continue to be found in the state of California. Diesel there is $1.453 per
gallon - down .032 cents from a week ago.
The remaining regions'
price per gallon is as follows: East Coast, $1.289; New England, $1.42; Central
Atlantic, $1.377; Gulf Coast, $1.255; Rocky Mountain, $1.408; and West Coast,