According to the US Energy Information Administration’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the retail price for regular gasoline during the summer driving season is expected to average $3.63/gal. This price is slightly below average prices over the last two summers, reflecting a small decline in crude oil prices and expected gasoline consumption, as well as higher gasoline inventory levels.
As the main contributor for less-expensive gasoline, the average price of Brent crude oil is expected to average $107.50/bbl this summer, down 1.4% from last summer.
US gasoline inventories for the 2013 summer driving season started at 220 million bbl compared with 219 million bbl a year ago. Withdrawals of gasoline from inventories this summer are expected to be about one half of last year’s level of 98,000 b/d and inventories are forecast to stabilize by the middle of summer and end the season at almost 210 million bbl.
Other major characteristics of EIA’s forecast about the 2013 summer gasoline market include:
• Gasoline consumption is expected to be down 20,000 b/d (–0.2%), as a 0.3% rise in highway travel is more than offset by improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency.
• Gasoline production may increase by 20,000 bbl/d (0.3%)
• Net imports of gasoline are expected to be 1.1% lower than in 2012.
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