Gas Prices Remain Stable over Summer

U.S. share of oil demand met by net imports to fall to lowest level since 1970. U.S. Energy Information Administration Administrator Adam Sieminski issued the following comments on EIA’s May 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook:

  • Gasoline Price:
    “The recent run-up in gasoline prices is due in part to the jump in crude oil costs and strong demand for gasoline, both domestically and for export. The good news for consumers is that record U.S crude oil inventories of 400 million barrels will put downward pressure on gasoline prices this summer.  EIA expects the average monthly gasoline price is expected to reach $3.72 per gallon this month and then gradually decline by about 20 cents a gallon by September.”
  • Crude Oil Supply:
    “U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 8.3 million barrels per day in April, the highest level for any month in 26 years. EIA expects oil production growth, primarily from increased output in the tight oil formations in North Dakota and Texas, to continue through 2015. Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is also expected to rise this year and again in 2015, marking the first increase in offshore oil output in five years, according to EIA.”

“Higher U.S. oil production is reducing the amount of oil imported by refineries to make gasoline, diesel fuel, and other petroleum products. The share of U.S. liquid fuel demand that is met by net imports, which reached 60% in 2005, is expected to fall to 23% next year, the lowest level since 1970.”

  • Natural Gas:
    “Following a slow start to the natural gas injection season, the amount of gas in underground storage remains well below year-ago and 5-year average levels.  EIA expects strong injections over the summer and fall, with projected storage levels at close to 3.4 trillion cubic feet by the end of October.  To reach the expected record build in U.S. natural gas storage during the current refill season, weekly natural gas injections have to average about 90 billion cubic feet, which is 30% more than the 5-year average injection rate.”
  • Coal: 
    “Severe winter weather, which increased power demand for electric heating, along with rail shipment problems, contributed to a large drawdown in U.S. coal inventories. Recent mild weather and year-over-year increases in rail shipments of coal for seven consecutive weeks have helped to replenish coal stocks at U.S. power plants.”
  • Electricity:
    “Electricity customers in the Northeast have recently experienced large increases in retail electricity prices. EIA estimates the average price of electricity sold to residential consumers in the Mid-Atlantic states grew by 8% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same time last year, and New England electricity prices grew by 11%. Rising fuel prices in that region have driven up utilities’ generation costs and the costs of purchasing electricity on wholesale power markets.”
  • Renewables:
    “U.S. solar-electric generation capacity has increased significantly in the last four years. EIA expects continued robust growth in solar electricity generation. EIA currently expects that utility-scale solar capacity will increase by over 50% between 2013 and 2015, with utility-scale solar providing about one half of 1% of total electricity generation in 2015. Growth in customer-sited solar capacity is expected to exceed utility-scale solar growth over this same period. Customer-sited units provide most of the nation’s solar power.”

The full STEO report can be downloaded at: