After declining for the first time in six weeks, the national average retail price of a gallon of diesel soared 7.6 cents to $3.015 for the week ending Monday, April 5. The price, which has increased 25.9 cents since Feb. 15, is 78.7 cents higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price surpassed the $3 mark for the first time since Nov. 3, 2008, when it was $3.088.
All regions tracked by DOE saw price increases. The biggest increase, 8.6 cents, was found on the West Coast, where prices climbed to $3.113. The smallest increase, 2.5 cents, was found in New England, where prices climbed to $3.054.
The nation’s most expensive diesel by region, $3.136, was found in the Central Atlantic, where prices climbed 6.1 cents. The nation’s least expensive diesel by region, $2.978, was found on the Gulf Coast, where prices climbed 7.9 cents.
California, which DOE tracks separately for its weekly update, saw a price increase of 7.4 cents to $3.147; that price is 81.2 cents higher than the same week last year.
DOE’s monthly short-term energy outlook projects that diesel will average $2.95 this year and $3.12 in 2011; last year, diesel averaged $2.46 a gallon. Oil averaged $81 a barrel in March, almost $5 higher than the previous month; DOE forecasts crude to average above $81 a barrel this summer, just under $81 for the year, and then increase to $85 by the fourth quarter of 2011.