WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The Brent crude oil spot price is expected to increase in the second half of 2012, leading to a short-term spike in retail gasoline prices, a report said.
The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said it expects Brent crude to average around $103 per barrel during the second half of the year, a $3.50 increase from the EIA's estimate in July.
"With higher crude oil prices, EIA has increased the average regular gasoline retail price forecast for the third quarter of 2012 to $3.49 per gallon from $3.39 per gallon in last month's outlook," the agency said in its August report.
An oil pipeline rupture in Wisconsin in late July, coupled with the disruption of a gasoline line in the state, lead to a regional spike in retail gasoline prices.
AAA, in its daily gasoline report, states that a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Chicago averaged $4.40 by Wednesday, a 50 cent increase from last month. The national average was reported by AAA at $3.65 for a gallon of regular unleaded, compared with $3.38 last month.
The EIA said that as area refineries come back into service, however, a previous supply gap in gasoline should disappear "almost entirely."
The agency expected regular gasoline retail prices to level out at around $3.53 for the year, however, the same as reported for 2011.