Diesel rises for second straight week

Diesel rises for second straight week

After declining in 34 of the previous 36 weeks, the average price of diesel fuel has risen for the second straight week, jumping 13 cents to $2.22/gal. nationally

After declining in 34 of the previous 36 weeks, the average price of diesel fuel has risen for the second straight week, jumping 13 cents to $2.22/gal. nationally.

That hike, though, may be due to nothing more than prices catching up with the cost of a barrel of crude, according to one expert.

“In our view, it’s just tied to the increase in oil,” Longbow Research transportation analyst Lee Klaskow told FleetOwner. “Sometimes there is just a lag between oil going up and diesel going up. Longer term, when the economy gets out of the doldrums, I think you’ll see an increase, but I don’t think we’ll see prices reaching the levels they did last summer.”

The 6.27% increase for the week of March 23 follows a seven-cent increase the week before. A year ago, the price was $3.96/gal. Across the nation, the East Coast saw an 11-cent increase, but the gain was just two cents in New England. Much of the rest of the nation saw an increase of between 8 and 14 cents with California posting a 17-cent spike.

After a 56% drop in the previous three months, a barrel of crude oil has gained 11% this quarter. According to Klaskow, the upward trend of the past two weeks isn’t predicative of a coming price spike. “I don’t know if this is necessarily a trend,” he said. “A few days ago, we did see a decline; we’ll have to wait and see.”

According to Bloomberg News, crude oil is expected to post its biggest monthly gain in almost a year due in part to a weaker dollar. Crude for May delivery rose $1.26 in morning trading to $49.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but then quickly dropped back to $48.34 by mid-morning. It closed down nearly $4 on Monday after touching $54 a barrel last week.

Fleets hauling bulk materials have seen a nearly two-cent increase in cost per mile charges, with refrigerated haulers taking a 1.61-cent rise, tank carriers a 1.4-cent jump, and general freight haulers a 1.63-cent spike.

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