Diesel rises nine cents in two weeks

The average price at the pump for a gallon of diesel fuel rose nine cents between December 16 and 30, according to the Dept. of Energy. The department's Energy Information Administration said the average price rose from $1.401 on December 16 to $1.491 on December 30. The price rose 32.2 cents since December 31, 2001. The spike in price can be traced to the drop in U.S. oil reserves. The American Petroleum Institute said on Tuesday that reserves had fallen by more than 3% in the week ending December 27 because shipments from Venezuela had stopped. Venezuela, the world's fifth largest oil exporter, supplies about 13% of U.S. imports, but it has shipped less than 10% of its usual output since an opposition strike to overthrow its president began last month. The Lower Atlantic (11.1 cents) and East Coast (10.1 cents) have seen the highest spikes in the past two weeks. The Rocky Mountain region has seen the price rise just 2.4 cents, while New England prices have risen only 5.9 cents.

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