Business

Government boosts forecast for pump prices

Posted February 12, 2013
Updated February 13, 2013

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— First it was a tax hike. Now consumers are looking at a higher than expected gasoline bill for 2013.

The federal government on Tuesday boosted its forecast for gasoline prices this year by 11 cents to an average of $3.55 a gallon. That would be the second-highest annual average ever, behind last year's $3.63 a gallon.

For a Durham trucking company, the high fuel prices are a heavy load.

"You get roughly, on average, around 6 miles a gallon," said Tucker Cowlbeck, terminal manager for Brown Trucking Company, which has a fleet of 110 trucks that each carry up to 200 gallons of gas.

"(Gas prices have) a key impact to the bottom line," he said, adding that the costs eventually have to be passed on to consumers.

AAA Carolinas said gas has gone up 16 cents across North Carolina in the past month, and currently sits at an average of $3.45.

The government's revised forecast follows a more than 10 percent increase in gas prices since the middle of December. The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, says the average gas price jumped from $3.25 on Dec. 17 to $3.61 Monday.

In its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA primarily pins the increase on higher oil prices. Brent crude, the benchmark for many international varieties of oil imported to the U.S., rose from $109 a barrel in mid-December to about $119 in early February. Gas prices climb higher this month

That $10 increase equates to about 24 cents per gallon of gas, the EIA says. U.S. benchmark crude rose $8 a barrel, to nearly $96 in the same time frame.

Consumers are already feeling a pinch from higher taxes. The expiration of last year's payroll tax reduction will cost an extra $579 for households making $40,000 to $50,000 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan Washington research group.

Still, there is some good news: The government expects oil prices to drop because of increased production in countries outside of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. For instance, crude oil production in the U.S. is expected to grow 13 percent to 7.25 million barrels a day this year.

As a result, the government says, gas should peak at an average $3.73 a gallon in May, 21 cents below last year's high of $3.94 in early April.

59 Comments

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  • stymieindurham Feb 15, 7:54 p.m.

    The EPA is nothing more than a governmental regulatory body that operates at the whim of the sitting president, whomever it is. The EPA should be regulated or disbanned. How many different blends of gasoline are there? And why is diesel so high?

  • paultaylorsr100 Feb 15, 6:44 p.m.

    Why is everyone becoming so compliant and accepting this $3.50 a gallon for gas? Remember when it was $.99 a gal. and everyone freaked?!! Everytime it goes up we become compliant and eventually accept it as the norm. GET THESE CLOWNS OUT OF OFFICE!!!!

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 14, 9:15 a.m.

    Is it me or do some have trouble reading or is it that they just can't admit to being wrong?

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 14, 8:50 a.m.

    "You mean the fact you're blaming Obama for something the EPA has required since 3 years before he was elected?"

    Ah again...No, for the new requirements the EPA forcing under Obama in 2012.

  • junkmail5 Feb 13, 4:59 p.m.

    In 2012 the EPA released a new forecast that projects a whopping 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to be produced in 2013.

    Feel free continue to ignore the facts.
    68_dodge_polara

    You mean the fact you're blaming Obama for something the EPA has required since 3 years before he was elected?

    I don't think facts mean what you think they mean.

    (the fact both your "supporting" documents are fox news kinda supports that idea)

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 13, 4:28 p.m.

    Obama's EPA ruining the economical recovery by continuing to raise the cellulosic biofuels tax on refiners. Which we pay at the pump.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/31/despite-court-ruling-epa-raises-biofuel-estimate/

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 13, 4:20 p.m.

    In 2012 the EPA released a new forecast that projects a whopping 14 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol to be produced in 2013.

    Feel free continue to ignore the facts.

  • junkmail5 Feb 13, 3:31 p.m.

    The the fact is that this product has never materialized and the EPA under Obama has refused the oil industry's request to stop fining the industry for failing to blend cellulosic ethanol in gasoline.- 68_dodge_polara

    So... OBAMA raised the price of gasoline... by simply not changing the policy that existed 4 years before he was even sworn in?

    I'm not sure you understand what the word raised means.

    Especially when gas prices now are about the same as they were in the months before Obama was elected.

  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 13, 2:56 p.m.

    Here is the reference to 2005:

    "Refiners are at their wit's end because the government set out requirements to blend cellulosic ethanol back in 2005, assuming that someone would make it. Seven years later, no one has."

    The the fact is that this product has never materialized and the EPA under Obama has refused the oil industry's request to stop fining the industry for failing to blend cellulosic ethanol in gasoline.

    So again Obama is at fault for a least a portion of the high gas prices. In fact in his own words before his first election he said he would like to eventually see gas prices closer to the 4 dollar a gallon mark.

  • junkmail5 Feb 13, 1:46 p.m.

    Also yet another way Obama is raising fuel prices.

    EPA blasted for requiring oil refiners to add type of fuel that's merely hypothetical

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/21/regulation-requires-oil-refiners-use-millions-gallons-fuel-that-is-nonexistent/
    68_dodge_polara

    that makes even less sense than your last failed argument.

    Your own source mentions the requirement was published in...

    2005.

    3 years before Obama was even elected.

    But somehow you're blaming him for it?

    It makes even less sense than that since the article doesn't mention it raising fuel costs in any way (how could it, since it does not exist?)

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