WASHINGTON — Drivers can expect to see regular gasoline retail prices averaging $3.63 per gallon during the summer driving season, according to projections released Tuesday in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) April Short-Term Energy Outlook.
The projected monthly average price of regular retail gasoline will continue to fall through the April-September driving season, topping off at $3.69 per gallon in May to $3.57 per gallon in September.
The EIA also expects this projection to be reflected on upcoming yearly averages: $3.56 per gallon in 2013, $3.39 per gallon in 2014.
Meanwhile, the Brent crude oil spot price will average $108 per barrel in 2013, $101 per barrel in 2014, the EIA forecasts. This price rose to $119 per barrel in early February, up from last year’s $112 per-barrel average.
The projected discount of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to Brent is forecast to average $14 per barrel in 2013, $9 per barrel in 2014. The EIA attributes this drop to planned new pipeline capacity lowering the cost of moving mid-continent crude oil to the Gulf Coast refining centers.
Natural gas working inventories ended March at an estimated 1.69 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), about 0.79 Tcf below last year’s level, and 0.41 Tcf below the five-year average (2008-2012).
EIA expects the Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $2.75 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2012, will average $3.52 per MMBtu in 2013, $3.60 per MMBtu in 2014.