At $3.144, the national average for diesel fuel topped $3/gal. nationwide for the first time ever on Oct. 3, nearly $1.10 higher than prices for the same week in 2004. But just one week later, the price of diesel set a new mark at $3.20/gal.

Due to the recent energy-price surge, retail food prices could rise 3.5% over 2004 for the remainder of 2005, USDA says. The agency says retail food prices jumped by 3.4% last year, following a decade-long average of 2.5% annual increases.