The EIA's economic growth assumptions for September have been lowered substantially compared with August's Outlook. This forecast assumes that U.S. real gross domestic product grows by 1.5% this year and 1.9% next year compared with 2.4% and 2.6%, respectively, in the previous Outlook.
Under the agency's assumptions, world oil-consumption-weighted real GDP grows by 3.1% and 3.8% in 2011 and 2012, respectively, compared with 3.4% and 4.1% in the last Outlook. With weaker economic growth and lower petroleum consumption growth, EIA expects the U.S. average refiner acquisition cost of crude oil to rise from an average of $100 per barrel in 2011 to $103 per barrel in 2012, compared with an increase to $107 per barrel in 2012 in last month's Outlook.
Nevertheless, the agency still expects diesel prices to rise. EIA expects that on-highway diesel fuel retail prices, which averaged $2.99 per gallon in 2010, will average $3.85 per gallon in 2011 and $3.87 per gallon in 2012. Projected U.S. refinery diesel fuel margins increase from an average of $0.38 per gallon in 2010 to $0.65 per gallon in 2011, then fall to an average of $0.58 per gallon in 2012.