The average cost of diesel has moved higher for the fourth consecutive week, according to new figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Department, while gasoline prices have also picked up and oil hit a high for the year.
Diesel is up 1.2 cent from last week, registering $3.989 per gallon, its highest level since April of last year. Over the past four weeks it has gained 11.6 cents but is 16.8 cents lower compared to the same time a year ago.
Prices barely fell in two regions of the country over the past week, down 0.5 cent and 0.6 cent, respectively, in the Gulf Coast and Central Atlantic parts. The Gulf Coast came in at $3.783, the least expensive part of the country, while the Central Atlantic section registered $4.357, the second most expensive part.
All other regions saw price increases from a week ago, with the greatest seen in the Rocky Mountain region, adding 3.7 cents for an average of $3.905 per gallon.
The New England part of the East Coast region maintained its title of having the most expensive price of any section of the country, up 0.4 cent from last week, averaging $4.373.
Meantime, gasoline increased 7.1 cents over the past week for a national average of $3.38 per gallon, it’s second weekly hike.
Over the past two weeks it has picked up 8.8 cents but is 36.7 cents less than a year earlier.
Prices increased in all regions of the country over the past week, with the biggest happening in the Rocky Mountain region, adding 10.2 cents for an average of $3.239.
Gasoline ranges from $3.179 in the Gulf Coast region, up 9.3 cents from last week, to a high of $3.572 in the West Coast section, up 5.5 cents during the same time.
The weekly price report from the DOE was delayed due to the President's Day holiday on Monday.
This came as crude extended its reach past the century mark on Tuesday after hitting it last week, picking up $2.13 in New York trading, closing at $102.43 per barrel. This is the highest price not only so far this year but also since Oct. 10 and is up 12% from the low for the year hit on Jan 9.
Winter weather that has affected much of the country is getting the blame for the spike in oil and fuel prices, due to surging demand for home heating oil. Also inventories for distillate fuel, which includes diesel and home heating oil, are down 22% from the average level for this time of the year, while weather forecasts calling for continuing cold in parts of the country is adding to the price pressures.