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January 17, 2007 12:00 PM, EST

Diesel Price Continues to Fall, Dropping 7.4 Cents to $2.463

Oil Closes Near $51 a Barrel; Gas Falls 7.7 Cents to $2.229
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The average national retail price of diesel fuel fell 7.4 cents to $2.463 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Tuesday.It was the fifth straight decline and followed last week's 4.3-cent drop, DOE said.Diesel has fallen 15.8 cents over the past five weeks but is 1.4 cents higher than the same week last year, according to DOE figures.Gasoline, meanwhile, fell 7.7 cents to $2.229, DOE said. That is 9.1 cents below the same week last year.Crude oil prices also continued to plunge, dropping $1.78 to close at $51.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.Oil had fallen below $51 for the first time in 19 months earlier in the day, after news that Saudi Arabia rejected further production cuts by OPEC, Bloomberg said.Oil prices are down almost 35% from the record $77.03 Nymex closing price set last July.Each week, DOE surveys 350 diesel filling stations to compile a national snapshot average price.The results of this week's survey were released Tuesday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday holiday on Monday.