In its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Department of Energy predicts that this year's average diesel price is expected to be $2.46 a gallon, the same as last month's forecast. The department's forecast for 2010 is up 5 cents from last month, to $2.84.

Analysts predict that North America will enjoy a few more months of relatively low diesel prices, but the cost at the pump should begin rising near the end of the year.

DOE predicts that gasoline will average $2.34 this year, down slightly from the $2.36 predicted last month. The weekly survey showed a 9-cent increase to $2.647. DOE said the national average price of diesel was $2.625, the highest price since late November.

Diesel averaged $3.80 last year, peaking on July 14, 2008, at a record $4.764 a gallon.

This year's prices are well below last year's record $3.26 average. The single-week record high for gas was $4.114 a gallon, set on July 7, 2008.