WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Energy Department said it expected retail gasoline prices for the second half of 2013 to be more than 10 cents cheaper than the first half on average.
The Energy Information Administration, the analytical division of the Energy Department, said gasoline prices started off the week at an average $3.63 per gallon, five cents lower than mid-July.
The department said higher crude oil prices and regional refinery issues were to blame from some mid-season increases in retail gasoline prices.
"Seasonal increases in demand for gasoline, rising crude prices, and tighter gasoline markets in the Midwest and Northeast contributed to U.S. regular gasoline retail prices increasing from an average of $3.50 per gallon to $3.68 per gallon during the first three weeks of July," EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said in a statement Tuesday. "Over the last two weeks, the average price of regular gasoline has fallen to $3.63 per gallon."
The EIA said crude oil prices on the international market account for about 66 percent of the price at the pump. An expected decline in crude oil prices should relieve some of the pain at the pump through the remainder of the year.
The EIA said it expects an average of $3.46 per gallon for the second half of 2013, compared to $3.59 for the first half of the year.