The average U.S. retail price of diesel
fuel shot up to $1.724 from the previous average of $1.679, the Department of
Energy reported April 12.
The highest prices are in California, at
$2.260; New England, at $1.757, $1.835 in the Rocky Mountain region; the
Central Atlantic region, at $1.742; and on the West Coast, where the average
price is $2.112.
Other prices included the Lower Atlantic
region, where the average price is $1.624; the Midwest, at $1.679; the Gulf
Coast, at $1.639; and the East Coast, at $1.665.
Prior to the Energy Department’s
announcement, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, spoke April 19 on the Senate floor: "Every
president should be willing to stand up to OPEC and to the Saudis to protect
American consumers from higher gas prices … Today, the president
should turn up the heat on OPEC and help reduce the pressure on the budgets of
Wyden also said “Americans are getting
mugged at the gas pump,” and he spoke for the need of a comprehensive push on
OPEC to lower fuel prices,
Wyden has introduced a resolution calling
on President Bush to pressure OPEC nations to increase oil production. Senate
Republicans subsequently moved to block debate on the measure.
The resolution (S. Res. 330), mirrors
legislation authored in 2000 by the current U.S. Energy Department secretary,
then-U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-MI, and the current U.S. Attorney General,
then-U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft, R-MO, calling on the Clinton administration to pressure
OPEC for higher output to stabilize oil prices.
In a related development, eight senators
last week endorsed a bill that would give federal antitrust agencies authority
to file suit in U.S. courts against members of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries for alleged price gouging, Gannett News Service reported.