Gas prices to change very little this summer

 

Gasoline’s retail price will average $3.57 per gallon during this summer’s busy driving season, a cent below last summer, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Tuesday.

The slight dip during the April-September peak driving season will be due to lower crude oil prices, mostly offset by an increase in gas consumption, the EIA said.

“We see a small increase in gasoline consumption, and that’s mostly a little bit of growth in vehicle miles traveled as the economy continues to come back from the big problems that existed for our economy and employment in the second half of 2008 and into 2009,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski told reporters Tuesday.

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“Fuel economy improvements offset a good part of that, and the result is a slight increase in demand,” he added.

Brent crude, a major trading benchmark, will average $105 per barrel this summer, down from $107 a barrel last summer. That’s due largely to increases in oil supplies from countries outside of the OPEC group, including the United States and Canada.

“The result of that, as we see it, is a modest decline in world crude oil prices,” Sieminski said.

The decrease to $3.57 a gallon is “essentially the same number,” Sieminski said.

The West Coast will have the highest gas prices this summer at $3.85 a gallon, and the Gulf Coast will see the lowest, at $3.37.

Diesel fuel, meanwhile, will average $3.87 per gallon, a 2-cent decrease from the previous summer, the EIA said.

The EIA’s forecast does not take into account the possibility of some unforeseen problems, such as geopolitical events the disrupt the crude oil supply change or unplanned refinery outages, Sieminski said.

For the entire year, the EIA expects gas to average $3.45 a gallon. That will fall to $3.37 per gallon in 2015.