Cold snap causes crude and diesel prices to jump

| 2/6/2007

A cold snap in the Upper Midwest and the East Coast regions could be responsible for ending a seven-week run of declining fuel prices, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The national average price for a gallon of diesel increased more than 2 cents for the week ending Monday, Feb. 5, 2007.

The EIA reported the national average price was $2.435 per gallon, up 2.2 cents from the previous week's price of $2.413.

Where petroleum reserves grew during an unseasonably warm January, cold weather in the north and northeast could affect that supply, according to analysts quoted by The Associated Press. The cold snap is expected to last until about Feb. 18.

The national average for a gallon of diesel was still 6.4 cents below the average price a year ago, the EIA reported.

Diesel in the Midwest Region increased 2.8 cents from $2.349 to $2.377.

The East Coast region reported an average price of $2.433 per gallon, up 2.7 cents from $2.406.

New England reported a 2.3-cent increase from $2.570 to $2.593, while diesel in the Lower Atlantic region jumped 3.1 cents from $2.347 to $2.378.

The Central Atlantic region reported an average price of $2.527, up 1.9 cents from the previous week's price of $2.508.

Crude oil prices hovered just below $60 a barrel on Monday, an increase of about $1 over the previous week.

California, where the cold is not a direct factor, realized the biggest gain in the EIA's nine reporting regions, where diesel jumped 6.4 cents from $2.761 to $2.825.

Diesel in the West Coast region was up 3.3 cents from $2.687 to $2.720.

The cheapest average price in the nation belonged to the Gulf Coast region, where diesel was $2.360 per gallon, up 1.3 cents from $2.347.

The only region where diesel prices dropped last week was the Rocky Mountain region, where the average price decreased from $2.556 to $2.523.

A barrel of crude oil had dipped below $50 a barrel last month, but was trading Monday at $59.96.