Diesel jumps, oil on rise

| Monday, February 28, 2005

The national average price-per-gallon for diesel fuel ballooned Monday, Feb. 28, to $2.118 from last week’s average of $2.02, the Department of Energy reported.

It is the second straight week the national average price of diesel has been above $2 a gallon. Until last week, the price of diesel had been below the $2 mark since early December.

The highest average prices in the nation are found in the West Coast region, where the average cost is $2.412.

The biggest jump was in California, where the average price per gallon shot up nearly 12 cents to $2.376.

Among the higher average prices were in the New England region, at $2.241; the Central Atlantic region, at $2.233; and the Rocky Mountain region, at $2.174.

Other prices included the East Coast region, at $2.117; the Midwest region, at $2.064; the Lower Atlantic region, at $2.056; and the Gulf Coast region, at $2.035.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices increased Monday, extending their recent rise above $51 a barrel amid concerns about continuing cold weather in the U.S. Northeast and the possibility that OPEC will cut production in March.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in April rose 21 cents to $51.70 a barrel in afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Heating oil prices also rose, by about 3 cents, to $1.485 a gallon.

Qatar’s Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad said Sunday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries might “cut supply to stop inventories from building” on March 16 when cartel members gather in Iran.

Kuwait’s prime minister, Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al Ahmad al Sabah, however, vowed on Monday to do all he could to bring high-flying prices under control.

The call from the cartel member reversed gains from earlier in the day that had brought prices to new four-month highs of $52.28 a barrel.

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