As gas nears record, diesel price drops

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The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel dropped 1.9 cents during the week ending Monday, May 7, to $2.792, or 10.5 cents less than in the same week of 2006. Meanwhile, the national average retail price of gasoline reached $3.035 a gallon, nearly matching the September 2005 record of $3.057, set in the days just after Hurricane Katrina.

Since mid-April, diesel prices have dropped as gasoline prices have increased, both trends to be expected as springtime weather reaches much of the nation. In warm weather, four-wheelers tend to drive more, which drives up gasoline demand; simultaneously, the demand for heating oil drops, freeing up more distillate stocks for diesel production.

In the week ending May 7, the average retail diesel price dropped in almost every region tracked by the U.S. Department of Energy, the exceptions being New England, where it increased 0.3 cents, and the Rockies, where it increased 0.7 cents.

The biggest decrease, 2.7 cents, was in the Lower Atlantic, which also had the nation’s cheapest diesel at $2.735. The most expensive diesel was in the still-snowy Rockies at $2.995. That was even more expensive than California diesel at $2.974.

The price difference between new ultra-low-sulfur diesel and the increasingly hard-to-find, but increasingly cheaper, low-sulfur diesel widened to a dime a gallon. For state-by-state diesel prices, updated daily, click here.