posted on Apr, 7 2005 @ 10:05 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand this summer is forecast to increase 1.8 percent from last summer, helping to push pump prices to a peak
monthly average of $2.35 a gallon in May, the federal government said on Thursday.
American drivers will consume an average 9.331 million barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline this summer, according to the Energy Information
Administration. The forecast from Energy Department's analytical arm is for the busy summer driving season running from April through September.
The expected growth in summer gasoline demand would be higher than the five-year average, the agency said.
"The higher demand is caused by the increasing number of drivers and vehicles, and increasing miles traveled per vehicle," the EIA said. A flat to
declining fuel efficiency in the entire U.S. vehicle fleet is also contributing to higher demand, it said.
Rising crude oil prices are pushing up pump costs. The price for U.S. crude should average $56.62 a barrel this summer, compared to $41.12 for the
same period last year.
The EIA said it expects crude costs to stay above $50 a barrel for the rest of 2005 and 2006.
U.S. crude oil futures traded at a record high of $58.28 per barrel earlier this week before declining on the government's report of an increase in