Blame the cold for the escalating cost of fuel. It's cold all over and that's driving up demand for heating oil.
Bitterly cold weather is sweeping Europe and the United States, and that's likely to keep pushing prices upward. Freezing weather is also expected to hit central and eastern Asia, according to JPMorgan analysts.

Light, sweet crude for January delivery settled up 79 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $88.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday, fueling continuing increases in diesel fuel.

Nationally, the average price for a gallon of diesel rose 1.7 cents to $3.248 at the pump, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. It's the fourth time in the past six weeks diesel has hit a fresh two-year high. It's now 52.2 cents a gallon higher than it was this week last year.

DOE's National and Regional Diesel Prices, Monday, Dec. 20/2010

Region 12/20 Last week Last Year
U.S. 3.248 +.017 +.522
East Coast 3.260 +.012 +.520
New England 3.375 +.002 +.522
Cen. Atlantic 3.381 +.017 +.540
Low. Atlantic 3.197 +.010 +.510
Midwest 3.229 +.024 +.521
Gulf Coast 3.183 +.020 +.503
Rocky Mtn. 3.290 +.005 +.550
West Coast 3.366 +.005 +.541
California 3.352 +.004 +.516

More info: DOE EIA.