U.S. diesel price sets another record high, but doesn’t hit $4

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The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel stopped short of the $4 mark, climbing 1.5 cents to set another record high for the fifth consecutive week, $3.989, for the week ending Monday, March 24.

The price, which has climbed 70.9 cents in the last six weeks, is $1.313 higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The average price has been above $3 for 27 consecutive weeks.

All regions tracked by DOE saw prices increases. The biggest price increase, 6.1 cents, was in the Rocky Mountain region, where the price roared to $3.953. The smallest increase, 0.6 cent, was in the Midwest region, where the price climbed to $3.964.

The nation’s most expensive diesel by region, $4.186, was in the Central Atlantic region, where week-over-week prices climbed 0.9 cent. The nation’s least expensive diesel by region, $3.928, was in the Gulf Coast region, where week-over-week prices climbed 1.4 cents.

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

The American Trucking Associations on March 17 projected a record high diesel fuel bill for the trucking industry in 2008. According to ATA, trucking will spend $135 billion on fuel in 2008, based on current fuel price forecasts; this marks a $22 billion increase over the $112.6 billion spent by trucking in 2007.

Meanwhile, the Arkansas Trucking Association is petitioning Congress to investigate the causes of rising diesel prices. Lane Kidd, association president, says Congress should act now to ward off an economic crisis.