Cost of diesel continues alarming climb, oil dips

| 3/21/2005

Truckers continued to feel the pinch at the pump Monday, March 21, as diesel fuel prices continued to climb. It is the fifth straight week the national average price of diesel has been above $2 a gallon; fuel is now running about 22 cents higher per gallon than in mid-February.

According to ProMiles, the state of Washington had the highest statewide average for retail diesel prices Monday at $2.65 per gallon. Oklahoma had the cheapest diesel with a price of $2.10.

The national average price-per-gallon for diesel increased a nickel Monday to $2.244, the U.S. Department of Energy reported.

The highest average prices in the nation are found in the California region, where the average cost is $2.482 – up more than 6 cents from a week ago.

Among the higher average prices were in the West Coast region, at $2.471; the Central Atlantic region, at $2.358; the New England region, at $2.355; and the Rocky Mountain region, at $2.313.

Other prices included the East Coast region, at $2.245; the Midwest region, at $2.196; the Lower Atlantic region, at $2.186; and the Gulf Coast region, at $2.180.

Meanwhile, crude oil prices dipped after briefly topping $57 a barrel on Monday as recent price spikes slowed.

Light, sweet crude for delivery in April dropped 13 cents to $56.59 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude prices reached a high of $57.12 earlier in the day.

“The market got overheated,” Ed Silliere, a spokesperson for Energy Merchant LLC in New York, told The Associated Press. “It went too far too fast.”

On Friday, March 18, the market’s crude oil prices closed at $56.72 a barrel, marking the sixth straight week prices had surged. Crude prices set an all-time high of $57.60 a day earlier.

Silliere told The AP because there is plenty of oil on the market, consumers should expect to see crude prices fall from current levels.

In hopes of soothing markets, OPEC made a decision March 16 to produce more oil.

The cartel, which produces nearly 40 percent of the world’s oil, agreed to immediately widen the spigot to pump an extra half-million barrels of oil a day and to approve a similar boost later if prices do not come down.