Crude oil, meanwhile, set a new record of its own, spiking after an attack on a Japanese oil tanker in the Middle East to close above $117 a barrel for the first time, the Associated Press reported Monday. Rising gasoline prices tightened the squeeze on drivers, jumping to an average $3.50 a gallon at filling stations across the country.
Prices are expected to keep climbing as they trace the path of crude, which has surged to new records for six trading sessions in a row. Oil prices are rising along with a host of commodities, from corn and wheat to gold and platinum, that are enticing speculators seeking hedges against a weakening dollar, according to AP. Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose to a record $117.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Monday, before settling at $117.48, up 79 cents from Friday's close.
The Energy Information Administration reported weekly on-highway diesel prices for the week of April 21. Average in the U.S. was $4.14 per gallon, up 8 cents a gallon from last week and up $1.29 from a year ago. On the East Coast, diesel jumped to $4.20 a gallon, up 9 cents a gallon from a week ago and up $1.37 from last year. In the Midwest, diesel was priced at $4.09, up eight cents from last week and $1.26 from a year ago. Diesel prices were the highest on the West Coast where they are averaging $4.25 cents a gallon, up 8 cents from last week and $1.30 from last year.