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Summer gas prices will be high — but not as high as they are right now, predicts EIA

Planning a summer of family fun? Be prepared to pay a bit more.

Rising gas prices could make your family's summer adventures more expensive this year.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration updated its short-term energy outlook with new gas price predictions for U.S. consumers this summer. The agency estimates that regular-grade gasoline and retail diesel prices will average $3.84 and $4.57 per gallon, respectively, which would put prices at their highest since 2014.

The EIA also predicts that U.S. consumption of gasoline will rise this summer but won't surpass levels from the summer before the coronavirus pandemic emerged.

“We expect that summer 2022 U.S. diesel consumption will also increase, almost equaling consumption during the summer of 2019,” the agency wrote in their report.

American households will spend more on gasoline this year

The EIA estimates that most U.S. households will spend around $2,945 on gasoline this year, which is an 18% increase — or $455 more — from what they spent in 2021.

The EIA attributes rising petroleum market prices (and declining oil stocks) to economic recovery from the pandemic and "increased levels of geopolitical risk."

Gas prices this summer will actually be lower than they are now

In the summer of 2021, regular-grade gasoline averaged $3.06 per gallon in the U.S., so the predicted $3.84 average for this summer is a significant increase.

However, gas prices have been higher in recent weeks. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has fueled rising gas costs around the world, and on March 7, the national average for a gallon of regular gas reached $4.07 a gallon in the U.S. A week before, it was more than a dollar less. Home heating oil is also rising in cost.

In April, the price per gallon averaged $4.17 across the country, which was higher than the $4.10 average cost of a gallon in 2008.

At the same time, Americans have also been contending with record inflation levels that are at a 40-year high.

Rising prices at the pump also have a domino effect, and experts have been warning that they could create rising prices in products such as smartphones and grains.

What will gas prices look like moving ahead?

In its report, the EIA predicted that gasoline prices will "decrease gradually throughout the summer."

A confluence of factors has contributed to today's high gas prices, according to the report. The Russia-Ukraine conflict, sanctions imposed on Russia, and the exodus of private companies from the increasingly isolated nation have disrupted the global crude oil supply. Meanwhile, crude oil production from OPEC members and the U.S. has slowed.

"We forecast that global commercial petroleum inventories will begin rebuilding this summer, and we expect that the European benchmark Brent oil price will average $106 per barrel (b) this summer, $35/b higher than last summer, but down from an average of $117/b in March 2022," the report said.

The agency also predicts that gasoline prices will be $3.68 per gallon by September.

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