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Short-Term Energy Outlook Positive, Government Reports

WASHINGTON — An inactive hurricane season, higher storage inventories and mild summer weather have all lead to a decline in the average Henry Hub natural gas spot prices for three consecutive months, according to the Energy Information Administration’s most recent outlook. In addition, gasoline prices continue to fall and electricity consumption is stable, growing at a relatively normal rate of 1.9% in 2007, the EIA says.On an annual basis, total natural gas consumption is expected to rise by 4% in 2007 and 1.3% in 2008. Growth in onshore production continues to offset declines in production from the Gulf of Mexico. While the average monthly natural gas spot price has declined for May, June and July, operators still have to remember that the hurricane season runs through Nov. 30 and current price projections remain vulnerable to potential storm-induced supply disruptions during that period.If you’re driving to your coin laundries, or even delivering drop-off work, you have probably noticed a drop in gasoline prices. Prices have fallen by almost 40% per gallon from the spring peak of $3.22 per gallon on May 21. Gasoline prices at the pump are projected to continue to decline through the end of 2007 and then begin their seasonal increases next spring.Despite high heating-related demand earlier in the year, the assumption of lower temperatures during the third quarter compared to last year should keep electricity consumption growing at a relatively normal rate of 1.9% in 2007. Consumption is expected to grow at a lower rate of 1.4% in 2008 due to slightly slower economic growth and a return to normal temperatures. 

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