The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the U.S. average refiner acquisition cost of crude oil to remain relatively flat for the next year, averaging about $100 per barrel in 2011 and 2012.
EIA's U.S. and world economic growth assumptions have been lowered from last month's Outlook. World oil-consumption-weighted real GDP is projected to grow by 3.1 percent in 2012, compared with 3.5 percent in the previous Outlook.
EIA projects that average household heating expenditures for heating oil and propane will increase by 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively, this winter (October 1 to March 31) compared with last winter. Average expenditures for households that heat with oil or propane are forecast to be higher than in any previous winter. In contrast, natural gas and electricity expenditures are projected to remain close to last year's levels.
Regular-grade gasoline retail prices have fallen by 46 cents per gallon from their peak monthly average this year of $3.91 per gallon in May to $3.45 per gallon in October. This drop in prices results from falling crude oil prices as well as the normal seasonal decline in consumption and the switch in production from summer-grade gasoline to lower-cost winter-grade gasoline. EIA projects gasoline retail prices to continue to decline, albeit slightly, through the end of the year.