Oil Report

US gasoline likely to top $3 in spring, summer-EIA

WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The price U.S. consumers pay for gasoline is expected to top $3 a gallon this spring and summer, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday in its new monthly forecast.

“Pump prices are likely to pass $3 per gallon at some point during the upcoming spring and summer,” the EIA said. “Because of growth in motor gasoline consumption, the difference between the average gasoline retail price and the average cost of crude oil widens in 2010 before starting to level out in 2011.”

Separately, the agency said it expects diesel fuel prices to average $2.98 a gallon this year compared to $2.46 last year, and then rise to $3.14 a gallon in 2011.

“As with motor gasoline, the expected recovery in the consumption of diesel fuel in the United States, as well as growth in distillate fuel usage outside the United States, strengthens refining margins for distillate throughout the forecast period,” the EIA said. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)