Diesel prices up, up and away

| Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Reversing a recent trend in the other direction, the average national retail price of diesel has increased from last week’s average of $1.874 per gallon to $1.912, the U.S. Energy Department announced Sept. 20.

Oil prices surpassed $46 a barrel as supply constraints in the United States and Russia tested the nerves of a market already edgy about the world's limited production capacity and rising demand, The Associated Press reported.

Cash-strapped Russian oil giant Yukos said it would halt some oil exports to China, while U.S. petroleum inventories were expected to decline again this week due to production, refining and shipping delays caused by Hurricane Ivan.

While workers who had been evacuated from oil production platforms and refineries in and around the Gulf of Mexico last week are returning to work, analysts are uncertain about how long it will take for shipments to resume at normal levels.

About 7.8 million barrels of oil would have been produced had operations not been shut since last Monday, according to reports from the federal Minerals Management Service. That is equivalent to 1.3 percent of total annual production in the region.

The highest prices in the nation continue in California, where the price currently averages $2.152 per gallon, and in the West Coast region, where the price stands at $2.088.

Meanwhile, the $1.90 mark was passed in New England, where the price is $1.988; the Central Atlantic, where the price is $1.973 and the Rocky Mountain states, where the price is $1.937; and the East Coast where prices are $1.905.

Other prices: $1.829 in the Lower Atlantic states, $1.882 in the Midwest and $1.868 in the Gulf Coast region.

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