WASHINGTON — With crude oil prices falling over the last month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has lowered the average regular gasoline retail price forecast for the third quarter of 2012 to $3.39 per gallon, according to the agency’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook.
EIA expects these prices, which averaged $3.53 per gallon in 2011, to average $3.49 per gallon in 2012 and $3.28 per gallon in 2013.
U.S. total crude oil production is expected to average 6.3 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2012, an increase of 0.6 million bbl/d from last year, and the highest level of production since 1997.
EIA projects the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil spot price to average about $88 per barrel over the second half of 2012 and the U.S. refiner acquisition cost (RAC) of crude oil to average $93 per barrel, both about $7 per barrel lower than last month’s Outlook.
Natural gas prices continue to remain low, thanks to record-high working inventories. Those inventories ended June at an estimated 3.1 trillion cubic feet, or about 23% above the same time last year. EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2011, to average $2.58 per MMBtu in 2012 and $3.22 per MMBtu in 2013.