The government is boosting its forecast for gasoline prices this year following an 11 percent increase since the middle of December. The move comes at a time when area gas prices are at their highest since October.
Pump prices should average $3.55 a gallon in 2013, according to the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department. That’s up 11 cents from EIA’s forecast in January and would be the second-highest annual average ever, after last year’s $3.63 a gallon.
The national average was $3.61 on Monday, the EIA says. It was $3.25 on Dec. 17.
The EIA primarily pins the increase on higher oil prices. Brent crude, the benchmark for many international varieties of oil imported to the U.S., rose $10 a barrel from mid-December to early February. That equates to about 24 cents per gallon of gas, the EIA says.
The average price of regular-grade gas stood Tuesday morning at $3.72 per gallon, according to DaytonGasPrices.com, a web-based service that uses spotters to track area gas prices. That’s up 5 cents from Monday’s average price and 50 cents from a month ago, according to the website.
The last time the average price of gas was this high was in early October.
The national average of as Tuesday morning was $3.57 a gallon.