The price at the pump for both gasoline and diesel fuel continues to rise, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. According to the department's Energy Information Administration, diesel has risen 12.7 cents and gasoline has jumped 22.6 cents since Feb. 25.
The department yesterday reported national averages of $1.281 for diesel and $1.342 for gasoline. Diesel is up three cents and gasoline up 5.4 cents since March 18.
Analyst Trilby Lundberg of Lundberg Survey says there are three reasons for rising fuel costs: the price of crude oil, economic recovery and seasonal switches at certain refineries.
Crude oil prices have continued to rise with an OPEC agreement to maintain production cuts through June. U.S. oil inventories are down as refineries perform maintenance for a seasonal rise in demand that already is beginning.
Lundberg said refineries serving many urban areas also have to reduce the vapor pressure of their fuel every March to meet emissions requirements. She added that economic recovery in the U.S. and abroad is increasing demand, as have gas prices that dipped sharply in the months after Sept. 11.