WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it expects U.S. retail gasoline prices to be, on average, 20 cents less in 2013 than this year.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for the week, starting Monday, was $3.49, about 6 cents higher than the same time last year. For 2010, gasoline prices averaged $2.78 per gallon.
Washington had considered tapping into strategic petroleum reserves early this year to help settle markets reacting to geopolitical concerns with Iran. Refinery closures in California coupled with the fallout for hurricanes Isaac and Sandy caused regional spikes in retail gasoline prices.
The EIA, in its short-term energy outlook for November, said retail gasoline consumption has been relatively static. It attributed much of that to fewer drivers, because of age restrictions and improvements in fuel economy of new automobiles.
Washington in August finalized plans to increase fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025.
"EIA expects regular gasoline retail prices, which averaged $3.53 per gallon in 2011, to average $3.64 per gallon in 2012 and $3.44 per gallon in 2013," the agency's report read.