The average price for diesel and gasoline in the U.S. continued to creep upward this week, albeit slowing, at just over a penny per gallon for each fuel. However, the price for both fuels at the pump remains below the averages set during the same time period last year – and truckers especially are benefiting from the year-over-year price differential for diesel.

According to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. average price for diesel increased 1.3 cents to $3.796 per gallon this week, with prices at the pump up in all regions of the country except: the Gulf Coast, which witnessed a 1.5 cent per gallon decline; the West Coast, where prices dropped 3/10ths of a penny per gallon; and California, where the per-gallon price fell 9/10ths of a penny.

The Midwest experiences the sharpest week-over-week increase in diesel prices – a 3.3 cent per gallon uptick – followed by the Rocky Mountain region, where prices jumped 2.8 cents per gallon, and the Lower Atlantic, where per-gallon prices increased 2.2 cents, EIA noted.

The U.S. average price for gasoline increased 1.4 cents to $3.508 per gallon this week, according to the agency’s figures, with prices falling in only three regions of the country: the Rocky Mountains, which witnessed a 2.5 cent per gallon drop; New England, where prices declined 3/10ths of a penny per gallon; and the West Coast, where per-gallon prices dropped 7/10ths of a penny.

Gasoline prices rose sharply in the Midwest – climbing 3.3 cents per gallon – followed by the Gulf Coast and Lower Atlantic, which both witnessed a 1.6 cent per gallon increase.

Still, pump prices for diesel and gasoline remain below the marks set during the same week in 2011, with the current U.S. average price for diesel 14.1 cents per gallon cheaper now versus last year, while the U.S. average price for gasoline is 20.3 cents lower per gallon, EIA noted.

Carriers are benefitting from that fuel price differential, as it’s helping to lower their cost of operations Werner Enterprises noted in its second quarter earnings report that diesel fuel prices were 16 cents per gallon lower in second quarter this year than in second quarter of 2011 – and were 15 cents per gallon lower than in first quarter of 2012.

For the first 18 days of July, Werner added that its average diesel fuel price per gallon was 26 cents lower than the average diesel fuel price per gallon in the same period of days in 2011 and 20 cents lower than in third quarter 2011.

“Our net fuel cost – fuel and fuel tax, less fuel surcharge revenue – provided a significant benefit during the second quarter this year, improving by approximately 5.5 cents per company mile compared with the second quarter of 2011,” added David Parker, chairman, president, and CEO of Covenant Transportation in the company’s second quarter earnings statement.