Arctic drilling debate slated after Easter, diesel continues upward trend

| Tuesday, March 26, 2002

The big battle in the U.S. Senate over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is expected to take place when lawmakers return after the two-week Easter recess.

Whatever the Senate finally approves must be merged with the House energy bill, which House Republicans backed and environmentalists criticized. The House measure would increase fossil fuel development and open the Arctic refuge to oil companies.

Meanwhile, the average price in the nation for diesel fuel rose from $1.25 per gallon last week to $1.28 this week.

Once again, California came in first among regions in the country for the highest diesel prices, with prices reaching $1.45 per gallon, up 3 cents from last week. Lows for the week were from the Gulf Coast region, $1.25 a gallon, (up 3 cents from last week); the Lower Atlantic region at $1.25 a gallon (up 2 cents); and the Midwest $1.26 a gallon (up 3 cents from last week).

The East Coast saw prices rise to $1.29 per gallon this week from $1.26 last week; and New England states saw an increase to $1.35 a gallon this week from $1.32 last week.

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