U.S. diesel price climbs 0.5 cents, $3.074

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Fuel Nozzle11

The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel rose for the third consecutive week, this time climbing 0.5 cents to $3.074 for the week ending Monday, April 19. The price, which has increased 31.8 cents since Feb. 15, is 85.3 cents higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This week’s price is the highest since Nov. 3, 2008, when it was $3.088.

Regions tracked by DOE saw a mix of price increases and decreases. The biggest increase, 2.7 cents, was found in the Rocky Mountains, where prices climbed to $3.109; and the smallest increase, 0.3 cents, was found in the Central Atlantic, where prices climbed to $3.189. The biggest decrease, 0.4 cents, was found in the Lower Atlantic, where prices fell to $3.033, the nation’s least expensive diesel by region; and the smallest decrease, 0.1 cents, was found in the Midwest, where prices fell to $3.044.

The nation’s most expensive diesel by region, $3.203, was found on the West Coast, where prices climbed 1.6 cents. California, which DOE tracks separately for its weekly update, saw a price increase of 0.7 cents to $3.228; that price is 88.8 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.