The Energy Information Administration, the statistical branch of the Energy Department, has some good news for motorists: gasoline prices are expected to peak at only $2.30 this summer.
The EIA said prices would average $2.23 a gallon during the summer, with a peak of $2.30 late into the season. That's about 20 cents more than current prices, but more than $1.50 less than last summer's record prices.
Crude prices reached a record high of $147 a barrel in July last year, doubling gasoline prices and causing the biggest drops in vehicular travel in decades. By December, barrel prices had plummeted to just $33 a barrel. Crude reached a high this year in March of $54, but prices closed on Tuesday at $49.41 a barrel.
Falling demand caused by the economic recession and high gas prices last summer is not expected to be stymied by much this summer, so the EIA is forecasting an average barrel price of $53 this year. It expects that to rise by $10 in 2010, if the economy manages to recover. It also forecast that world oil demand would continue to fall, declining by 180,000 barrels in 2009 to 84 million.
Diesel, in the meanwhile, is forecast to remain at its current average of $2.27 - which means diesel may actually be cheaper than gasoline this summer. Next year, diesel is expected to rise to $2.69. Perhaps the new crop of TDI products still has a chance.
Source: USA Today