Higher fuel prices not seen as limiting for summer driving

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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Short-Term Energy Outlook April 2017 Note: Retail margins include taxes.

WILMINGTON — The year’s off to a great start for the Carolina’s beach communities. 

Easter, the first big weekend of 2017 arrived with bountiful tourists and a forecast of more of the same despite higher gasoline prices. 

As the tourists were arriving, the EIA broke out the summer driving numbers from its April outlook, forecasting a 1.4 percent  increase in 2017 summer highway travel despite a 10 percent increase in gasoline prices from 2016. 

U.S. drivers will pay an average of $2.46 per gallon this summer for regular gasoline, according to forecasts in EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. Gasoline prices from April through September are expected to be 23 cents per gallon higher than the average price last summer, but this price is still nearly 70 cents per gallon below the average for the previous summers. 

The gasoline price increase this summer primarily reflects slightly higher forecast crude oil prices, the EIA explained.  

Projected motor gasoline consumption for summer 2017 is expected to average 9.5 million barrels per day, slightly more about 20,000 barrels daily, or 0.3 percent — than the record set in the summer of 2016.  

Regional differences in retail gasoline prices can be significant, the EIA pointed outforecasting average summer prices will range from a low of $2.21 per gallon on the Gulf Coast to $2.87 per gallon on the West Coast.  

On Monday (April 17) the average U.S. gasoline price was $2.436 a gallon, up 29.9 cents from a year earlier, the EIA reported in the Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. Prices ranged from $2.241 per gallon on the Gulf Coast to $2.652 per gallon on the West Coast. Here in the Lower Atlantic – the states of Virginia to Florida – the average was $2.320 per gallon, up 29.7 cents from a year ago. 

-Content provided by Cape Fear energy reporter Jim Brumm 

 For more from Jim, visit his Energy Thoughts site at http://jo1brumm.blogspot.com/ 

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