WASHINGTON -- Gasoline prices in the US will jump 40 percent during the summer driving season compared to 2010, according to a federal projection released Tuesday.
Retail prices for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline will average $3.86 from April through September, up from $2.76 for the comparable period last year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistics arm of the Energy Department.
In some areas of the US, monthly average prices could be greater than the national average by at least 25 cents a gallon.
“The continuing economic recovery tends to boost gasoline and diesel fuel consumption, while the effect of higher retail prices tends to dampen it,” according to the EIA.
“These counter-balancing forces are expected to be prominent features of the summer driving season.”
The average US household’s vehicle fueling costs will be about $825 greater this year than last year, hitting $3,360 in 2011, according to the EIA.
The government also expects refiner acquisition costs of crude oil to average $112.50 a barrel this summer, up about 50 percent from $74.70 in the prior year.
Meanwhile, wholesale gasoline margins -- the difference between the wholesale price of gas and the refiner acquisition cost of crude -- are forecast to average 53 cents a gallon this summer, up 47 percent from 36 cents last year.
The catalyst for the increase, according to the EIA, will be “continuing strength in world-wide liquid fuels consumption.”