Diesel prices climbed 4.4 cents last week to a national average of $3.976 per gallon, the highest level in two and a half years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The national average included prices above $4 a gallon in several parts of the country, including a high of $4.323 a gallon in California, where prices jumped 6.7 cents from week to week.
The retail cost of diesel has grown in 17 of the last 18 weeks, and the latest increase left the price up nearly 26 percent since the end of January. Prices started going up in early December along with crude oil futures. Protests in Tunisia began Dec. 17, leading to widespread unrest in the Middle East and adding urgency to what might otherwise have been a small and ordinary price increase.
By The Numbers: U.S. Diesel Prices
West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery closed Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange at $107.94 per barrel, the highest price since 2008.
The impact of events that cause oil disruptions can persist for an extended period, according to the EIA, which analyzes conditions needed for a recovery in production.
Last week's biggest jump in diesel prices happened in the Rocky Mountain region as diesel jumped 5.8 cents to $4.017 per gallon. The highest price was on the West Coast, where diesel averaged $4.209 per gallon after climbing 5.4 cents. The lowest price was on the Gulf Coast. Prices there increased 4.8 cents to $3.905 per gallon. The price increase on the East Coast was the smallest, a 3 cent bump to $3.982 per gallon.
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