The price consumers pay for regular grade gasoline is projected to peak at $4.15 per gallon in August, according to the Short Term Energy Outlook released today (June 10) by the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Regular grade gasoline prices are expected to average $3.78 per gallon for the year, 97 cents above the 2007 average, the report states. In 2009, that average is expected to be $3.92.
Retail diesel fuel prices are projected to average $4.32 per gallon in 2008, an increase of $1.44 over the 2007 average. Diesel fuel currently averages $4.69 per gallon.
Although U.S. consumption of liquid fuels and other petroleum is expected to drop by some 290,000 barrels a day this year, world consumption continues rising by some 1 million barrels a day.
Rising global consumption, low surplus capacity, market concerns that the cushion of surplus production capacity of less than 2 million barrels a day is insufficient to protect against sudden supply disruptions caused by factors such as this year's hurricane forecast for the U.S. Gulf Coast, and geopolitical concerns about possible disruption of supply from areas such as Nigeria and Venezuela, all contribute to the rapid rise in petroleum prices and expectations for continued high prices.