Summer Gas Prices, Consumption Expected to Drop

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If government projections hold true, Americans this year will pay the lowest summer gas prices they have in two years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported this week that the price for a gallon of regular gas is expected to average $3.63 during the summer driving season, identified as April through September. Crude oil prices, which account for two-thirds of the price of gas at the pump and are a major contributor to price reductions, are expected to be lower in the summer, according to the EIA.

“The forecast reflects a small decline in crude oil prices and expected gasoline consumption, as well as higher gasoline inventory levels,” the EIA said in a statement.

Americans’ gas consumption is expected to be down 2% this year, despite a projected 3% increase in highway travel due to improvements in vehicle efficiency, the EIA stated. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, demand for gas during the 2013 summer driving season will be the lowest in a dozen years, and nearly 6% below the 2007 peak. Meanwhile, gas production is forecasted to increase by 3% as net gas imports decrease by more than 1% compared with 2012.

Gas prices vary by region, and the EIA expects the West Coast pump price to be as much as 26 cents per gallon higher than the national average, at $3.89, while the Gulf Coast could enjoy prices 16 cents lower. That said, the West Coast will also enjoy the greatest dip (13 cents a gallon) in price compared with 2012, while the Gulf Coast will only see a 2-cent-per-gallon savings.

EIA: U.S. Spring-Summer Gasoline Use Seen at 12-Year Low
(Wall Street Journal)
AAA: Gas Prices Fall for First Time in Months
Gas Prices on Longest Upswing Since Summer

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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