The Energy Information Agency (EIA) short-term energy outlook for summer 2006 isn't sunny. The April 11 report projects diesel and gas prices to stay, with both averaging $2.62/gal. this summer. Diesel, however, surpassed that figure by 2¢ for the week ending April 10, reports LandLine magazine. Diesel's 2005 summer average (April-September) was $2.59/gal.

EIA attributes the rise to the world's growing oil consumption, as well as new federal rules for both diesel and gasoline. The transition to ultra low-sulfur diesel is "possibly the most difficult fuel specification transition the refining industry has had to make so far," the report says, with the transition resulting in "increased production costs and distribution complexity."

Increased diesel demand from China and Europe is another contributor, as diesel fuel consumption is expected to increase about 3.2% over summer 2005.

Meanwhile, crude oil dipped slightly last Friday after hitting a two-month high in trading the day before -- light sweet crude trading at just under $67/barrel in New York. The all-time high is the Hurricane Katrina-induced $70.85/barrel in early September 2005. -- Joe Roybal