U.S. diesel price hits another all-time high, $4.497

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The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel soared 16.6 cents to yet another new record high of $4.497 for the week ending Monday, May 19. The price — which has climbed 54.2 cents in the last six weeks — is $1.694 higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The average U.S. price now has been above $4 for six weeks.

All regions tracked by DOE saw price increases. The largest increase by region, 17.5 cents, was found on the Gulf Coast, where week-over-week prices rose to $4.443. The smallest price increase by region, 14.7 cents, was found in New England, where week-over-week prices climbed to $4.610.

The nation’s most expensive diesel by region, $4.682, was found in the Central Atlantic, where prices soared 16.6 cents. California, which DOE tracks separately, recorded the nation’s highest diesel price, $4.737; prices in that state rose 19.0 cents last week. The nation’s least expensive diesel by region, $4.442, was found in the Rocky Mountains, where prices climbed 16.6 cents.

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

On May 13, Congress voted to stop depositing oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, despite initial residence from the White House. The Senate voted to stop putting 70,000 barrels of oil a day in the SPR through the remainder of the year; the House also approved a similar bill.

Senators have said the House bill can clear the Senate shortly and be sent to the president; although the administration is skeptical about the impact of the bill, President Bush is not expected to veto it.

The intent of the bill is to increase market supply of oil, and thus lower energy prices; moreover, the U.S. SPR is currently 97 percent full. Under the plan, oil would not be stockpiled until December, or at least until the 90-day average of crude oil recedes to at least $75 a barrel.