In its July 10 Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration (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. EIA expects WTI and RAC crude oil prices to remain roughly at these second half levels in 2013.
Beginning in this month's Outlook, EIA is also providing a forecast of Brent crude oil spot prices, which are expected to average $106 per barrel for 2012 and $98 per barrel in 2013. These price forecasts assume that world oil-consumption-weighted real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 2.9 percent in both 2012 and 2013.
With crude oil prices falling over the last month, EIA has lowered the average regular gasoline retail price forecast for the third quarter of 2012 to $3.39 per gallon. EIA expects regular gasoline retail prices, which averaged $3.53 per gallon in 2011, to average $3.49 per gallon in 2012 and $3.28 per gallon in 2013.
Meanwhile, gasoline and diesel fuel prices both increased this week. The average retail price of regular gasoline increased six cents this week to $3.41 per gallon, 23 cents per gallon lower than last year at this time. This is the first increase in the U.S. average retail gasoline price since April 2, 2012. Prices decreased in the Rockies and west, while to the east they increased. The largest increase was in the Midwest, where the average price was up 12 cents to $3.44 per gallon. The East Coast price increased six cents from last week and is now $3.35 per gallon. The price on the Gulf Coast is $3.16 per gallon, up four cents from last week. Moving west, the Rocky Mountain average price decreased three cents to $3.55 per gallon, and the West Coast price is $3.67 per gallon, down four cents from last week.
The national average diesel fuel price increased four cents to $3.68 per gallon, 22 cents per gallon lower than last year at this time. Prices increased in all regions of the Nation except the Rocky Mountains, where the price decreased three cents to $3.68 per gallon. The largest increase was in the Midwest, where the price increased six cents to $3.64 per gallon. On the Gulf Coast the price increased 4 cents to $3.61 per gallon. The East Coast price is $3.73 per gallon, an increase of three cents from last week. Rounding out the regions, the West Coast price increased a penny to $3.80 per gallon.