Diesel prices continue south - some fear upward trend

| Tuesday, April 22, 2003

According to figures released by the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration April 21, the national average diesel price fell last week to $1.529 per gallon from the previous average of $1.539.

The highest rates are in the Central Atlantic region, where the average price is $1.688; in New England, where the price is $1.685; the West Coast, where the price is $1.606; and in California, where the price is $1.647.

The remaining regions' prices per gallon are as follows: $1.591 on the East Coast; $1.500 in the Midwest; $1.541 in the Lower Atlantic states; $1.434 on the Gulf Coast; and $1.570 in the Rocky Mountain region.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has called an emergency meeting for Thursday to assess postwar conditions in the oil market, with a view to slashing output to bolster sagging prices. OPEC President Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah has said he believes the world is oversupplied by 2 million barrels a day at a time when seasonal demand normally slips to its lowest level of the year.

However, energy analysts warn that crude inventories in major importing countries are still quite low. They argue that OPEC must be careful not to curb production so much that refiners face low stocks of oil as they head into summer, the peak season for fuel consumption.

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