WASHINGTON – U.S. gasoline prices should remain at or close to $3 a gallon for most of the summer, but pump costs will not approach the $4 level that many oil market analysts are predicting, the government's top energy forecasting agency said Wednesday.
The federal Energy Information Administration said it "does not expect the U.S. average price to get anywhere close to that level as long as the oil infrastructure remains largely unaffected this summer."
The Energy Department's analytical arm said gasoline prices are high because demand has been outpacing supply with so many refineries temporarily shut down, causing motor fuel inventories to drop.
"This year is certainly shaping up to be one in which consumers will likely see high gasoline prices throughout the summer months," the EIA said in its weekly review of the oil market.
The national price of regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.05 a gallon this week, less than 2 cents from the all-time record high set in September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina ravaged oil production and refineries along the Gulf Coast.