WASHINGTON - Low gasoline and diesel fuel prices didn’t last long. Oil prices rose for the third consecutive month in May, and prices for gasoline and diesel fuel are also going up, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook blames rising oil prices on expectations for an economic recovery and future increases in oil consumption, as well as a weaker dollar. Crude oil prices are expected to average $67 per barrel for the second half of the year, compared to about $51 per barrel in the first half.

Meanwhile, the average U.S. price for regular-grade gasoline reached $2.62 per gallon last week, almost 60 cents per gallon higher than the average price at the end of April. That led the EIA to boost its projections for gasoline prices, increasing the projected average for 2009 to $2.33 per gallon, a 21-cent increase above last month’s projection. The EIA also increased its diesel fuel price projection for 2009 by 14 cents, to $2.40 per gallon on average for this year.

Publication date:06/15/2009