Diesel prices on the rise again; Bush meets with Saudi prince

| Monday, April 25, 2005

After a brief dip, diesel prices across the United States were climbing up again on April 25, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The national average for diesel increased 3 cents to $2.289 per gallon, up from $2.259 per gallon the previous week. That’s also up a stunning 57.1 cents from the same week in 2004.

The Gulf Coast saw the biggest increase, with prices there jumping 5.1 cents per gallon to $2.231 per gallon, up from $2.18 per gallon the week before. The Midwest also saw a sizable increase, rising 3.7 cents to $2.234 per gallon.

Meanwhile, prices in the East Coast region rose 2.7 cents to $2.287 per gallon. The Central Atlantic region rose less than a penny to $2.382 per gallon, while the Lower Atlantic region rose 3.7 cents to $2.234 per gallon.

New England, along with the Rocky Mountain region, California and the West Coast, saw a slight dip in prices. New England and the West Coast both fell half a cent to $2.413 and $2.549, respectively.

The average price in California fell 1.2 cents to $2.57 per gallon, while the Rocky Mountain region fell less than a penny to $2.371 per gallon.

One reason prices went back up is because of a rise in the cost of the crude oil used to produce diesel.

On the New York Stock Exchange, light, sweet crude oil reached more than $56 a barrel April 25 before settling back down into the $54 range. A series of refinery problems along with recent sabotage attacks of oil pipelines in Iraq are being blamed for these price increases.

President Bush met with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah April 25 and planned to ask the prince to boost his country’s oil production, which would hopefully drive down prices, according to a CNN report.

Saudi Arabia, along with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has already raised production levels several times this year, with little effect on the price of crude oil.

Truck drivers have been hit especially hard by the rising prices. One thing that could help them is a fuel surcharge provision currently making its way through Congress. The provision was recently approved by the U.S. House as part of its version of the highway bill. The Senate is now working on its version of the highway bill.

The language in the House bill at Section 4139 requires all motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders running truckload freight to implement fuel surcharges and pass on 100 percent of those charges to the person who actually pays for the fuel.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging truckers to write, fax and call their U.S. senators and urge them to include the same fuel surcharge language in the Senate’s version of the bill.

If truckers are uncertain who their senators are, they can contact OOIDA’s Membership Department, and they will look up the information. The toll-free OOIDA number is 1-800-444-5791.

Truckers can also call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give the operator their ZIP code and be directly connected to their senator’s office.

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