Diesel, oil prices continue to fall

| Monday, January 03, 2005

The national average price-per-gallon for diesel fuel fell 3 cents Monday, Jan. 3, from last week’s average of $1.987 to $1.957, the Department of Energy reported.

It is the fourth week in a row that the national average price of diesel has been below $2 a gallon. Until last month, the price of diesel had been above the $2 mark since late September 2004.

The highest average prices in the nation continue to be found in the New England region, where the average cost is $2.180.

Among the higher average prices were those in California, at $2.063; the West Coast region, at $2.011; the East Coast region, at $2.025; and the Central Atlantic region, at $2.163.

Other prices included the Lower Atlantic region, at $1.952; Rocky Mountain region, at $1.934; the Midwest region, at $1.929; and the Gulf Coast region, at $1.887.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices fell sharply Monday on the first trading day of the new year amid milder winter weather in the United States and expectations of increased output from Canada and the North Sea.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in February dropped $1.60 to $41.85 per barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had closed 2004 out at $43.45.

The U.S. supply of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil, diesel and jet fuel, traded down more than 4 cents at $1.21 per gallon on the Nymex.

While oil is still about $13 a barrel cheaper than the all-time closing price of $55.17 recorded twice in late October, the price of crude remains just under 30 percent higher compared with year-ago levels.

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