Diesel prices jumped 6.6 cents, the second weekly price increase in a row, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
BP's Texas City refinery. (Photo courtesy BP)
BP's Texas City refinery. (Photo courtesy BP)

The national average weekly on-highway diesel price as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration was $3.066, 6.6 cents higher than last week and 46.6 cents higher than a year ago. Last week, the average price jumped nearly a nickel, from $2.951 to $3.00.

The highest average prices were reported in the West Coast region at $3.239, up 7.4 cents from the previous week. The lowest prices were seen in the Gulf Coast region, where prices are still below #3 at $2.982, up 6.2 cents from the previous week.

Crude oil prices dropped yesterday to below $82 a barrel, thanks to higher U.S. inventories and wide expectation that OPEC will leave its production quotas the same.

A Bloomberg News survey of analysis estimates that the U.S. Energy Department's report on inventories, due out this week, may show a gain of 1.4 million barrels of oil, a three-month high.

Bloomberg reports that crude for November delivery fell 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle at $81.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract reached a five-month high of $84.43 last week. Prices have risen 11 percent in the past year.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, better known as the OPEC oil cartel, has revised its forecast for growth in oil demand. It's predicting total world oil demand for 2010 at 95.59 million barrels per day, up 1.34 percent from 2009. That's up slightly from the previous estimate of 85.51 million barrels per day.

The world economy is on its way to recovery, OPEC said in its October Oil Market Report, despite serious turbulence and setbacks. The world economic recovery will help stabilize total oil demand
in the fourth quarter; however, not as well as in the first half of the year, when various stimulus programs in many countries drove up demand.

The 12-nation cartel is not expected to change its output quotas during its meeting this week in Vienna, according to published reports; oil ministers appear to be fairly happy with current oil prices. OPEC has left its production quotas unchanged since December 2008.