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March 21, 2016 4:15 PM, EDT
Diesel Climbs 2¢ a Gallon to $2.119
John Weiss/Flickr

The U.S. retail diesel average rose for a fifth consecutive week, but the pace slowed.

Diesel jumped 2 cents to $2.119, the Department of Energy said, after rising 7.8 cents the previous week.

Trucking's main fuel is 74.5 cents cheaper than a year ago, when the price was $2.864, DOE said in its March 21 survey of fueling stations.

California had the peak price, up 2.8 cents to $2.418.

Diesel remained below $2 in only the Gulf Coast, where it stood at $1.991 after rising one-tenth of a cent.

It rose the most in the Rocky Mountain region, 5.7 cents to $2.056.

DOE also reported the average price of regular gasoline rose 4.6 cents to $2.007 but is 45 cents cheaper than a year earlier. Gasoline prices rose in all regions.

Joyce Brenny, CEO of  Brenny Transportation Inc. in St. Cloud, Minnesota, said looking for stability in fuel prices was unrealistic.

“Of course, stability is something that we all desire. I don’t care if it’s in fuel or the price of trucks or whatever you’re looking at, driver turnover. It’s not the trucking industry. We can wish for it, but it really hasn’t been the trucking industry,” Brenny, a 35-year trucking veteran, told Transport Topics.

Instead, she focuses on the role of the drivers in managing fuel costs.

Her fleet of 50 trucks uses 25,000 gallons of diesel fuel per week, she said.

Brenny tells drivers, especially new ones, there are “some nice bonuses” tied to fuel mileage.

But that takes training to reach, she said, and depending on the age and experience of the driver, the program can last a year. “It’s really hands on, and it’s very expensive. But I think we are seeing a return on investment ... as it is maximizing our fuel mileage along with retention, which is unbelievable.”