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March 25, 2008 11:45 AM, EDT

Diesel Gains 1.5¢ to $3.989; Gas Dips Following Records

Bruce Harmon/Trans Pixs

The average national price of retail diesel fuel rose 1.5 cents to $3.989 for a fifth consecutive record, while gasoline’s price declined, the Department of Energy said Monday.

The diesel increase left trucking’s main fuel $1.313 higher than the same week a year ago, according to DOE figures.

Gasoline, meanwhile, fell 2.5 cents to $3.259 a gallon, for the first decline in six weeks. The motor fuel set record highs the past two weeks, topping out at $3.284 last week.

Clayton Boyce, public affairs director for American Trucking Associations, said the high diesel prices have caused some smaller trucking companies and independent drivers to go bankrupt, the Tampa Tribune reported Monday.

Many trucks are reducing their speeds to extend their fuel mileage, Boyce told the paper.

ATA President Bill Graves last week wrote to the Bush administration, asking the government to tap the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve in an effort to “burst the bubble in the crude oil market.”

Crude has soared to repeated records in the past month, topping and remaining over $100 a barrel for most trading days.

For a second straight week, diesel topped $4 in the East Coast region, at $4.045, and on the West Coast, at $4.056 a gallon, DOE said.

It was even higher in the East Coast sub-regions of New England, at $4.142, the Central Atlantic, at $4.186, and the West Coast sub-region of California, at $4.119 a gallon.

Each week, DOE surveys about 350 diesel filling stations to compile a national snapshot average price.