Average retail diesel prices last week across the United States rocketed 14.3 cents to a national average of $3.716 per gallon, the biggest one-week surge in more than two-and-a-half years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as fears about the supply of oil from the Middle East grew while protesters battled government troops in Libya.
The 14th straight weekly increase left the price up 17.5 percent, or 55.5 cents a gallon, in the past three months. It was the biggest price jump since May 26, 2008, when diesel prices soared 22.6 cents during the surge to a record $4.764 per gallon on July 14.
By The Numbers: U.S. Diesel Prices
Crude oil prices last week reached a high of $98.10 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before word came that Libya’s oil production was not completely halted. Gasoline prices were affected as much as diesel, rising 4 percent last week to a national average of $3.29 per gallon.
Libya's oil chief said Monday production had been cut approximately 50 percent but that it was safe for foreign oil workers to return. Some Libyan ports reopened to oil tankers. "The terminal (at Tobruk) is working at 100 percent," Rajab Sahnoun, an official with the Arabian Gulf Oil Co., which is based in the eastern city of Benghazi, told the AP.
Saudi Arabia, the largest producer among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said it would increase exports.
Crude oil futures on the NYMEX fell to $97.88 Friday and hit $97.08 in trading Monday.
The biggest jump in U.S. diesel prices last week came on the West Coast, where retailers added 16.3 cents to reach a regional average of $3.892 per gallon, up 93.6 cents from the same period a year ago.
In the Rocky Mountains, diesel prices climbed 13 cents to $3.698 per gallon, up 84.7 cents from a year earlier.
On the Gulf Coast, drivers could buy the least expensive diesel at $3.656 per gallon, up 13.4 cents from the previous week and up 83.7 cents from a year ago.
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