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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Drivers in the United States are likely to pay an average of $2.04 per gallon of regular gasoline this summer, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook.
The forecast price for this year's summer driving season is 59 cents per gallon lower than the average price in summer 2015, and would be the lowest average summer price since 2004.
Monthly average gas prices are expected to increase to $2.08 per gallon in June before falling to $1.93 per gallon in September.
Just over half of the vehicle-miles driven in a year occur during the six months from April through September in the U.S.
For full-year 2016, the EIA forecasts U.S. regular gas prices to average $1.94 per gallon. Based on this annual average price, it estimates the average household will spend approximately $350 less on gas this year than in 2015, and $1,000 less than in 2014 when average gas prices rose above $3 per gallon.
Lower crude oil prices are a factor in this year's lower prices due to global oil supplies continuing to exceed consumption, leading to persistently large inventory builds. The EIA expects these inventory builds to persist through 2016, keeping crude oil prices below $40 per barrel.
Despite this, regional differences in retail gas prices can be significant, and therefore the EIA forecasts average summer prices to range from a low of $1.80 per gallon on the Gulf Coast to $2.51 per gallon on the West Coast.