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3/3/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

March's fuel-price outlook not very encouraging, OPIS says


February didn't exactly signal the fuel-price trend U.S. railroads were hoping for. The average nationwide retail per-gallon price for diesel at the beginning of the month was $1.54; at the end, it was $1.80, according to a report by Oil Price Information Service (OPIS).


A year ago, the average U.S. retail per-gallon diesel price was $1.22 — more than 60 cents per gallon less compared with peak prices expected in March, OPIS said.


Last month, wholesale diesel prices rose about 35 cents per gallon because of a late February surge in demand from end-users who typically consume natural gas. Many commercial and industrial users' natural-gas supplies were interrupted, and additional demand strained supplies in northern markets, OPIS said.


Because of global-war worries, a Venezuelan oil-workers strike, the decade's first sustained cold winter and low inventories, end-users can expect to pay 30 cents to 35 cents more per gallon for some oil products in March compared with what they paid a month ago, OPIS said.










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