WASHINGTON - Retail prices for regular gasoline are projected to be 25 cents higher this summer than they were last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA's Short Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook projects summer gasoline prices to average $2.62 per gallon. The high gasoline prices will be largely due to continued high prices for crude oil, which is projected to average $65 per barrel this year. Other contributors to the high prices are a strong growth in demand for gasoline coupled with new requirements for low-sulfur gasoline and voluntary efforts by refiners to phase out their use of the additive MTBE. As noted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the MTBE phaseout is only expected to contribute a few cents to the overall cost.

Retail diesel fuel prices are also expected to average $2.62 per gallon this summer, with high prices partly caused by a requirement to phase in ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel beginning in June.

Publication date: 04/17/2006