DOE Outlook Forecasts Lower Diesel Prices, CO2 Emissions

October 7, 2009

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The Department of Energy has lowered its projection for diesel prices in the fourth quarter and forecasts a 5.9 percent fall in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions this year.

According to its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the DOE's Energy Information Administration expects diesel prices to average $2.60 during the fourth quarter, down from last month's projection of $2.74. The average price of diesel has been declining for the last five weeks. The new forecast is based on August and September fuel prices, when it averaged $2.63 per gallon.

Meanwhile, the department also announced that for 2009, a 5.9 percent cut in CO2 emissions is expected from the 2008 level.

"Several factors contribute to a projected reduction of nearly 6 percent in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use in 2009, primarily associated with the economic downturn," said Richard Newell, EIA administrator. "Seventy percent of the expected decline-an estimated 242 million metric tons-is from reduced coal and natural gas use in industry and buildings, substitution of natural gas for coal in electric power, and an increase in carbon-free electricity," said Newell. "The remaining 30 percent of the emissions decline-totaling 102 million metric tons-is due to reduced consumption of jet fuel and distillate fuel oil, including diesel fuel and heating oil."

In addition, the EIA projects the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil to average about $70 per barrel this winter, a $19 boost from last winter. Prices are expected to rise to about $75 a barrel by December 2010 as the economy improves.

Gasoline prices are expected to fall from the $2.62 per gallon average in August to an average of $2.44 for the fourth quarter.

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