Cost of diesel, oil prices rise

| Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The national average price-per-gallon for diesel fuel increased about 2 cents this week to $1.952 compared with last week’s average of $1.934, the Department of Energy reported.

The cost of fuel, compiled Monday, Jan. 17, and released Tuesday, marks only the second time in seven weeks that the national average price of diesel has increased.

The highest average prices in the nation continue to be found in the New England region, where the average cost is $2.168.

Among the higher average prices were in California, at $2.023; the West Coast region, at $2.001; the East Coast region, at $2.009; and the Central Atlantic region, at $2.127.

Other prices included the Lower Atlantic region, at $1.944; the Rocky Mountain region, at $1.877; the Midwest region, at $1.928; and the Gulf Coast region, at $1.908.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices rose above $49 a barrel Tuesday amid plunging temperatures in the United States and fears that OPEC may cut output again later this month.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in February increased 98 cents to $49.36 per barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The U.S. supply of distillate fuel, which includes heating oil, diesel and jet fuel, increased 4 cents to $1.39 per gallon.

Freezing temperatures hit parts of the United States last weekend, driving up demand in the world’s largest heating-oil market for as long as a week. Temperatures east of the Great Lakes are expected to remain below average from Jan. 22 through Jan. 26, The Associated Press reported, and may stay lower than normal in the Northeast through the end of the month.

OPEC ministers are scheduled to meet Jan. 30 to discuss whether additional production cuts may be necessary. The cartel agreed in December to reduce production by 1 million barrels a day starting this month to bring output closer to its self-imposed output ceiling of 27 million barrels.

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