Crude oil set to surpass all-time high

user-gravatar Headshot

A slumping dollar and tension in the Middle East were among the factors in February’s 19 percent rise in crude oil prices, which are poised to rise above $103.76 a barrel. That’s the price many analysts believe to be oil’s all-time inflation-adjusted high, set in early 1980 during the Iranian hostage crisis.

Gas prices on Friday, Feb. 29, rose 0.3 cent to a national average of $3.164 a gallon, edging closer to last May’s record of $3.227, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Gas and diesel prices are following light, sweet crude oil, which spiked to a new record of $103.05 on Friday, Feb. 29, before falling 75 cents to settle at $101.84 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange.

Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, told the Associated Press that while gas prices are unlikely to rise as high as $4 a gallon, diesel may well pass that level this spring, boosting prices of nectarines, computers, clothing and virtually every other consumer product transported by trucks, trains and ships. “That is the one that is much scarier,” Kloza told the AP.

Meanwhile, the national average retail price of a gallon of diesel soared 10.6 cents to set a record high for the second consecutive week, $3.658, for the week ending Monday, March 3. The price, which has climbed 37.8 cents in the last three weeks, is $1.032 higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The average price now has been above $3 for 24 consecutive weeks.

All regions tracked by DOE saw prices increases. The biggest increase, 13.2 cents, was in the Central Atlantic, where the price roared to $3.825, the nation’s most expensive diesel. The smallest increase, 7.4 cents, was in the Lower Atlantic region, where the price climbed to $3.636. The nation’s least expensive diesel, $3.573, was in the Rocky Mountain region, where week-over-week prices climbed 10.0 cents.

For state-by-state diesel prices, updated daily, click here.