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U.S. Motorists to Pay a Penny Less for Gasoline in Summer 2014

U.S. consumers will pay 1 cent less a gallon for gasoline at the pump this summer than in 2013 as crude oil prices are projected to fall, according to a government report released today.

Regular-grade gasoline will average $3.57 a gallon from April through September, compared with $3.58 a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. Diesel is estimated to average $3.87, 2 cents lower than a year ago.

Costs will be little changed during the summer driving season as European benchmark Brent, the pricing basis for U.S. imports, will slide $2 to $105 a barrel, according to the EIA. Wholesale gasoline margins will rise 3 cents to an average of 38 cents during the same time period. Gasoline was 1 cent lower than a year ago in a weekly EIA report released yesterday.

“The price forecast is based on what’s happening with world crude oil prices and our expectations for Brent crude oil,” EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said on a conference call. “Supply, demand and other events might impinge on either of those two things.”

Unplanned outages in countries including Sudan, Libya and Nigeria could affect prices, according to Sieminski. Disruptions in pipeline and terminal flows in locations including Iraq may also have an impact, he said.

2014 Estimates

U.S. gasoline prices will rise to $3.66 a gallon in May before declining to $3.46 in September, the EIA said. Consumption of motor fuel is seen unchanged at 9 million barrels a day, the department reported.

Domestic refinery production may rise by 60,000 barrels a day, while total net gasoline imports average 240,000 barrels a day, about 7 percent lower than in 2013, the EIA said.

The EIA maintained its full-year estimate for retail gasoline at $3.45 a gallon. Prices may average $3.37 in 2015.

Gasoline consumption will average 8.79 million barrels a day this year, unchanged from a March 11 projection. Demand in 2015 may rise to 8.79 million, up from 8.78 million in the estimate last month.

Distillate demand, including diesel and heating oil, will be 3.85 million barrels a day, unchanged from last month’s outlook. Consumption in 2015 is estimated to be 3.94 million, also unchanged.

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