The average price at the pump for a gallon of diesel fuel has reached $1.704, the highest ever recorded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The department said the highest previously recorded by its Energy Information Administration was $1.67, back on October 16, 2000. The price recorded last week was $1.662, 4.2-cents less than this week.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, said on the company's website that the U.S. could experience weekly fuel-price swings of 10-15 cents per gal. over the next few months.
Prices have spiked because of a general work stoppage in Venezuela and because of the threat of a war in Iraq.
Spikes this high have not been seen since the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-4, Kloza said.
Drivers in New England are paying the highest price at $1.885, while drivers in the Central Atlantic are paying $1.851.
At $1.638, the Rocky Mountain region is paying the least.
American Trucking Assns. president & CEO Bill Graves wrote to President George Bush Friday expressing concern over rapidly rising diesel prices and suggesting a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve "may be the best option to avert a potential crisis in the domestic refinery system."