For the second consecutive week, the average price of diesel nationally hit a record high. It climbed 1.2 cents to average $2.348 per gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The biggest increase came in the Rocky Mountain region, which had enjoyed relatively low prices but experienced a surge of 4 cents to $2.328. California remained the most expensive region at $2.554 after a 3.2-cent increase. The Gulf Coast region, with a 0.2-cent increase, kept the lowest prices at $2.29. The only weekly decline was experienced in the Lower Atlantic region, where it fell 0.3 cents to $2.315.
Diesel price patterns are likely to stay aligned with crude oil prices, which also are at record high levels, trading in the range of $60 per barrel. Most economists believe that this trend probably will add another two to three cents to diesel prices over the next couple weeks.
Diesel prices usually are lower in the summer months because a lessened demand for heating oil frees up distillate supplies, a petroleum product from which diesel and heating oil are derived.
But increased worldwide diesel demand, especially in China and India, has prevented U.S. refiners from building up distillate stocks. For example, the demand has been strong for diesel-fueled cars in India, and there were recent investments in diesel-powered electric generators in China.