U.S. Projects Gasoline Will Cost Less This Summer Than in 2012

U.S. consumers will pay an average 6 cents a gallon less for gasoline this summer than a year ago, according to a forecast by the Energy Information Administration.

The EIA expects regular-grade gasoline will average $3.63 a gallon from April through September, down from $3.69 a gallon in 2012, the statistical arm of the Energy Department said today in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Diesel fuel averages will drop 1 cent to $3.94 a gallon.

Lower crude prices will keep motorists’ costs in check, according to the EIA. Brent, the pricing basis for U.S. oil imports, is down 14 percent from a year ago, while West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, has dropped 7.9 percent. Regular gasoline is 33.1 cents a gallon below a year earlier, lowest for this season in three years, the EIA said yesterday.

“U.S. drivers are expected to pay less for gasoline this summer, on average down 6 cents per gallon from last summer, due in large part to slightly lower crude oil prices that account for 65 percent of the pump price,” Adam Sieminski, the EIA’s administrator, said in an e-mailed statement.

The EIA raised its forecast for gasoline prices at the pump for all of 2013 and reduced its estimate for demand.

Regular-grade gasoline will average $3.56 a gallon this year, up from last month’s forecast of $3.55, Prices in 2012 averaged $3.63 a gallon.

Prices may average $3.39 in 2014, the department estimated, up from $3.38 in last month’s forecast.

Gasoline consumption this year will average 8.69 million barrels a day, down from 8.71 million in last month’s projection. Demand in 2014 may be 8.7 million barrels a day, down from last month’s forecast of 8.71 million.

Distillate demand, including diesel and heating oil, will be 3.79 million barrels a day this year, up from last month’s outlook of 3.75 million. Consumption in 2014 is estimated to be 3.81 million barrels a day, unchanged from the previous projection.

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