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NATIONAL REPORT -- An improved U.S. economy is not the only thing consumers will be thankful about this summer. Gas prices are expected to be slightly lower compared to the last two summers, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) "Short-Term Energy Outlook."
Prices for a regular gallon of gas are expected to average $3.63 in the United States, lower than the $3.71 average and $3.69 average experienced in the summers of 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The EIA believes summer gasoline prices will fall because crude oil prices will be lower. Crude oil prices typically account for approximately two-thirds of the price of gasoline at the pump.
Although the average nationwide price may be $3.63 per regular gallon this summer, this figure will vary throughout the country, the EIA noted. Prices on the West Coast are expected to be as much as 26 cents per gallon higher than the average, while Gulf Coast prices could be 16 cents below average. Prices on the East Coast, and in Midwest and Rocky Mountain states, are expected to trend very close to the national average.
U.S. gasoline inventories will begin the 2013 summer driving season at 22 million barrels, 1 million barrels more than a year ago, the Administration added. However, this number is consistent with the five-year average.
In addition, the report predicted that gasoline consumption will be down by 20,000 barrels per day and net imports of gasoline are expected to be 1.1 percent lower than in 2012.