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Higher oil prices forecast

Expect higher diesel fuel prices this year and next year based on the U.S. Department of Energy forecast released Oct. 13.

DOE raised its diesel-price forecast for the rest of this year by 3 cents to $2.96 a gallon, and its forecast for 2011 by 4 cents to $3.14. Last year’s average was $2.46 a gallon, while the average national price this week jumped to $3.066, the highest price since May.

DOE projected that refining margins will average about $2 a barrel higher next year because of increased product demand worldwide and shutdowns of global refining capacity.

Crude oil will average $80 in the fourth quarter, up $2 from last month’s forecast, DOE said. Oil will increase to $85 by the end of next year, $1 higher than last month’s forecast.

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