In its Short-term Energy Outlook released yesterday, the EIA says that while it expects refiners' crude acquisition costs (RAC) for crude oil to increase slightly from current prices to about $102 per barrel in 2012, diesel prices should remain steady at slightly lower than we're currently paying.
Historically, diesel averaged $2.99 per gallon in 2010, and $2.46 in 2009.
The forecast WTI price discount relative to RAC narrows from an average $11 per barrel in the third quarter of 2011 to $3 per barrel by the fourth quarter of 2012, supported by the recently announced reversal of the Seaway pipeline in 2012.
The warm start to this heating season has lowered the forecast of average household heating expenditures for heating fuels by about 3 percent from last month's Outlook. Decreased demand for heating oil has had a damping effect of diesel pricing so far this winter.