The national average price-per-gallon
for diesel fuel increased slightly Monday, Jan. 24, to $1.959 compared
with last week’s average of $1.952,the
Department of Energy reported.
The highest average prices in the nation continue to be
found in the New England region, where the average cost is $2.18.
Among the higher average prices were in the Central Atlantic
region, at $2.14; California, at $2.068; the West Coast region, at $2.027; and
the East Coast region, at $2.014.
Other prices included the Lower Atlantic region, at $1.945;
the Midwest region, at $1.928; the Gulf Coast region, at $1.919; and the Rocky
Mountain region, at $1.884.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices held firm Monday as a blizzard
enveloping the Northeast strained tight heating oil stocks and amid speculation
that OPEC may cut output again at the end of the month.
Light, sweet crude for delivery inMarchincreased 7 cents to $48.60 per
barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, building on
Friday’s $1.22 increase.
Prices have climbed as blizzards blanketed large parts of
the Northeast – the world’s largest heating-oil market – dragging temperatures
well below the seasonal average, driving homeowners to fire up their furnaces.
Temperatures are expected to stay lower than normal in the
Northeast through the end of the week, Reuters reported. The outlook for
the following week is warmer.
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.
But Indonesia’s Oil Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on
Monday current price strength means OPEC should maintain existing production
limits at Sunday’s meeting.