U.S. retail diesel prices increased 3.7 cents to an average of $3.908 per gallon across the United States last week and pushed farther past the $4 mark in several regions, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. It was the 15th consecutive week of rising prices, extending the longest streak of consecutive weekly increases since 1999.
Crude oil futures topped $100 per barrel March 2 and peaked at $105.44 per barrel March 7. On Friday, the market had fallen to $101.16 per barrel, and in trading Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate for April delivery slipped to $101.07 per gallon.
The situation in Libya has not improved, with fighting there cutting oil production drastically. But world markets have adjusted to the uncertainty by bringing in supplies from alternate sources.
By The Numbers: U.S. Diesel Prices
Calm on the oil futures markets hasn't reached the pump yet as the national average price for retail diesel climbs toward $4 per gallon.
U.S. retail prices usually lag the crude oil market by a week or two. And after the 15.5-cent jump in the week ending March 7, this week's modest increase may signal the beginning of moderation at the retail level.
When prices on the West Coast hit $4.046 per gallon a week ago, it was the first time any region topped $4 per gallon since September 2008, EIA said. Diesel gained another 4.5 cents last week to reach an average of $4.091 per gallon there. The price was beyond $4 a gallon in the New England and Central Atlantic states and reached a national high of $4.170 a gallon in California.
Along the Gulf Coast, diesel gained just 3 cents to reach $3.842 per gallon, the lowest price and the smallest increase in the nation last week.
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