WASHINGTON - Crude oil prices are near their record highs and are expected to peak in August, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook expects U.S. refiners to pay an average of $73.50 per barrel during August, compared to only $61.60 per barrel in May. Despite the increasing price of oil going into the refineries, the price of gasoline at the pump is dropping, and that decline is expected to continue through the end of year.

After peaking at record prices of $3.22 per gallon on May 21, the average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline fell by almost 40 cents per gallon as of last week, thanks to increased production at U.S. refineries. The EIA expects regular unleaded gasoline to average $2.64 per gallon come December.

Crude oil prices set a number of records in recent weeks, with the highest prices achieved in the spot market for Brent crude oil. According to the EIA, the spot prices for Brent crude peaked at $79.09 per barrel in late July.

Publication date:08/13/2007