WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it expects retail gasoline prices to average $3.44 per gallon for 2013, a 5 percent decline from last year's average price.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its short-term energy outlook that falling crude oil prices should contribute to a decline in gasoline prices in the next couple of years.
Retail gasoline prices for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline were predicted to average $3.44 per gallon for 2013. The EIA said it expected 2014 to bring an average gasoline price of $3.34 per gallon.
AAA reported that gasoline prices were the highest on average for U.S. consumers in 2012. The EIA said the average price for 2012 was $3.63 for a gallon of regular unleaded.
By May, the Energy Department said retail gasoline prices for all blends were around $4 per gallon, in part because of geopolitical tensions with Iran.
A string of refinery and pipeline issues in California this year pushed gasoline prices in some markets close to $5 per gallon. Hurricane Isaac, which struck the southern U.S. last summer, and Hurricane Sandy, an October storm that battered the East Coast, caused regional spikes in gasoline prices.
AAA reports that U.S. commuters paid, on average, $3.31 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline Thursday. That's down about 1 cent from the average reported one month ago.