Sunday, October 20, 2013

EIA Forecast: Gasoline Prices down sharply Year-over-year, Expected to Decline Further in 2014

by Calculated Risk on 10/20/2013 10:41:00 AM

Gasoline prices are down about 46 cents year-over-year at $3.43 per gallon nationally compared to $3.89 on October 15, 2012. This is a positive for the overall economy.

Prices are expected to decline further in Q4 and in 2014 according to the current EIA forecast:

Brent crude oil spot prices fell from a recent peak of $117 per barrel in early September to $108 per barrel at the end of the month as some crude oil production restarted in Libya and concerns over the conflict in Syria moderated. EIA expects the Brent crude oil price to continue to weaken, averaging $107 per barrel during the fourth quarter of 2013 and $102 per barrel in 2014. Projected West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices average $101 per barrel during the fourth quarter of 2013 and $96 per barrel during 2014.
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The weekly U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell by 18 cents per gallon during September, ending the month at $3.43 per gallon. EIA’s forecast for the regular gasoline retail price averages $3.34 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2013. The annual average regular gasoline retail price, which was $3.63 per gallon in 2012, is expected to be $3.52 per gallon in 2013 and $3.40 per gallon in 2014.
emphasis added
WTI oil prices have declined recently, with WTI at $100.81 per barrel.  Brent is at $109.94 per barrel. A year ago, WTI was around $90s, and Brent was around $112 per barrel.

Some of the year-over-year gasoline price decline is related to slightly lower Brent oil prices, but most of decline is because there were refinery and pipeline issues last year. In California, prices spiked last September and were still very high in October (put Los Angeles into the graph below to see the huge spike last year).

The following graph is from Gasbuddy.com. Note: If you click on "show crude oil prices", the graph displays oil prices for WTI, not Brent.



Orange County Historical Gas Price Charts Provided by GasBuddy.com