The national average price-per-gallon
for diesel fuel fell Monday, Dec. 13, to $1.997 from last week’s average
of $2.069, the Department of Energy reported.
It was the first time since late September that the national
average price of diesel was below $2 a gallon – and the first in months that
California did not have the highest price of fuel.
The highest average prices in the nation are found in the
New England region, where the average cost is $2.206.
Among the higher average prices were in California, at
$2.138; the West Coast region, at $2.097; and the Central Atlantic region, at
Other prices included the East Coast region, where the
average price is $2.063; the Lower Atlantic region, at $1.998; the Rocky
Mountain region, at $2.049; the Midwest region, at $1.953; and the Gulf Coast
region, at $1.910.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices dipped Monday due to perceptions
of a glut in the world market, despite OPEC’s decision to cut back on
production. Prices had rallied earlier in the day on concerns the cut would
leave the Asian market short.
But analysts told The Associated Press it would take
weeks for the total OPEC cutback of 1 million barrels a day to be felt on world
markets. Plenty of crude is still available in the pipeline because of the
cartel’s overproduction in early fall after prices skyrocketed to record highs,
After climbing above $41 a barrel, light sweet crude for
delivery in January was down 19 cents to $40.52 per barrel in afternoon trading
on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil prices are nearly $15 a barrel cheaper than the all-time
closing price of $55.17 recorded twice in late October, though prices remain
roughly 40 percent higher than a year ago.
OPEC oil ministers agreed the cutbacks would take effect
starting Jan. 1. But there was some confusion Monday after Kuwait’s Sheik Ahmed
Al Sabah said reductions in output would start immediately, whereas the
cartel’s president, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, said the production cut would take
effect Jan. 1, as planned.
“There is still an oil oversupply of 1 million barrels a day
this month, and this caused the drop in oil prices,” said Yusgiantoro, who also
predicted demand would fall in the second quarter of 2005.
Analysts agreed it was too early to expect prices to rise as
a result of OPEC’s decision.