Fuel prices continue to edge back down

| Monday, September 12, 2005

Diesel prices continued their slow descent toward pre-Katrina levels Monday.

ProMiles reported a national average of $2.865 per gallon for diesel on Sept. 12, though some areas were still higher than that.

California, Idaho, Nevada, Vermont and Washington state still had averages over $3 per gallon, according to ProMiles.

In California, where diesel prices have been above $3 a gallon for several weeks, authorities have reported an increase in diesel theft, particularly in farming counties such as Fresno, Madera and San Joaquin.

The Los Angeles Times reported that thieves stole 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel from growers in the state in 2004. This year, they are on pace to break that record.

Meanwhile, oil is also getting back to its pre-Katrina levels. Prices for light, sweet crude fell to a low of $62.70 per barrel before settling just above $63 in midday trading Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

As of Saturday, Sept. 10, the federal Minerals Management Service reported that more than 120 oil and gas platforms were still shut down in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, as much as 60 percent of the region’s daily oil production was still unavailable to the market.

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