Diesel hits all-time high

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."

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