Oil prices continue to set record highs

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Oil prices surged near $108 per barrel on Monday, March 10, a new inflation-adjusted record and their fifth new high in the last six sessions, the Associated Press reported. Analysts have noted the rise in crude prices is not supported by the market’s underlying fundamentals because supplies generally are rising while demand is falling.

Many analysts believe speculative investing attracted by the weak dollar is the primary reason oil has risen so far so fast in recent months; crude futures offer a hedge against a falling dollar, and oil futures bought and sold in dollars are more attractive to foreign investors when the dollar is falling.

Investors also feel that the greenback is likely to keep falling as the Federal Reserve continues to cut rates. “We’ve got a Fed(eral Reserve) meeting on the 18th that could see a sizeable rate cut,” Brad Samples, an analyst with Louisville, Ky.-based Summit Energy Services Inc., told the AP. “So, it’s not over.”

Meanwhile, the national average retail price of a gallon of diesel soared 16.1 cents to set a record high for the third consecutive week, $3.819, for the week ending Monday, March 10. The price, which has climbed 53.9 cents in the last four weeks, is $1.134 higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The average price now has been above $3 for 25 consecutive weeks.

All regions tracked by DOE saw prices increases. The biggest increase, 18.9 cents, was in the Gulf Coast, where the price roared to $3.798. The smallest increase, 12.5 cents, was in the New England region, where the price climbed to $3.938.

The nation’s most expensive diesel was in the Central Atlantic region, where week-over-week prices climbed 16.4 cents to $3.989 to close in on the $4 mark. The nation’s least expensive diesel, $3.732, was in the Rocky Mountain region, where week-over-week prices climbed 15.9 cents.

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