According to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration, the national average for regular-grade gasoline is expected to decline for the rest of 2018, dipping from a high of $2.96 per gallon on May 28 to around $2.84 per gallon by September and then $2.68 per gallon in December.
The agency said gasoline prices are often higher in summer months when gasoline demand is higher and when federal and state environmental regulations require the use of summer-grade gasoline, which is more expensive to manufacture.
Since 2000, gasoline prices have reached their yearly peak during or before June on 10 occasions, EIA said, with storms or other outages have driving such price increase. For example, supply disruptions and refinery outages in the wake of Hurricane Harvey resulted in gasoline prices peaking in September 2017, the agency noted.
EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook or “STEO” also noted that the “probability” of regular-grade retail gasoline prices reaching or exceeding $3 per gallon declined from 36 percent on May 22 to 7 percent on June 7.
On top of that, the agency still expects oil prices to remain on a downward track through 2019. In the June update to its STEO, the EIA projects that the Brent global crude oil price marker will average $71 per barrel in 2018, the fall to $68 per barrel in 2019.
The agency added that Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $77 per barrel in May, an increase of $5/b from April and the highest monthly average price since November 2014.
However, EIA expects the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price index – used to gauge the cost of domestically produced oil – will average almost $7 per barrel lower than Brent prices in 2018 and $6 per barrel lower than Brent in 2019.