Wilmoth: Gasoline prices could take a summer vacation, experts say

Summer gasoline prices are expected to be slightly lower than last year, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The price estimate is about 6 cents per gallon less than last summer's average of about $3.69 per gallon.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: April 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm •  Published: April 12, 2013
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Gasoline prices already have been erratic in 2013.

On average, however, consumers should see a slight break when fueling up this summer, according to estimates released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The government said the national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline likely will average about $3.63 this summer.

The price estimate is about 6 cents per gallon less than last summer's average of about $3.69 and 8 cents less than $3.71 two summers ago.

Oklahoma gasoline prices typically run 20 cents to 30 cents per gallon less than the national average, largely because of nearby refineries and lower state gasoline taxes.

The projected price estimate reflects a small drop in crude oil prices and expected gasoline use combined with higher gasoline inventories.

While the government said it expects total gasoline consumption to drop, that doesn't mean Americans are expected to drive less.

Total highway travel is projected to increase 0.3 percent this summer, but improving vehicle efficiency is expected to cause total U.S. gasoline consumption to drop about 20,000 barrels per day, or 0.2 percent.

At the same time, domestic gasoline production is seen as increasing by 20,000 barrels per day, or about 0.3 percent, leading to a 1.1 percent drop in net gasoline imports.

The country's storage stocks started the 2013 summer driving season around 220 million barrels, up 1 million barrels from last year and about the same as the five-year average.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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