Diesel price forecasts decline

On-highway diesel fuel retail prices will average $3.89 a gallon this year and $3.93 in 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy forecast May 10 in its short-term energy outlook.

Those projections are down 9 cents and 14 cents, respectively, from the previous month’s forecast. Diesel averaged $2.99 a gallon in 2010.

Diesel prices already exceed the forecast even after this week’s national average price decline of 2 cents a gallon to $4.104. Prices have increased 19 out of the past 22 weeks.

The department’s Energy Information Administration projects crude oil spot prices, which averaged $79 a barrel last year, will average $103 this year and $107 in 2012. The forecasts are down $4 and $6 a barrel, respectively, from last month’s outlook. During the first week of May, crude oil prices fell by nearly $17 a barrel to $97, the department said.

The department said it expects oil markets to tighten next year as world oil demand rises and growth in supply slows from producers that aren’t members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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