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Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook

Release Date: April 12, 2016  |  Next Release Date: May 10, 2016  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures


  • During the 2016 April-through-September summer driving season, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.04/gallon (gal), compared with $2.63/gal last summer (see EIA Summer Fuels Outlook presentation). For all of 2016, the forecast average price is $1.94/gal, which if realized would save the average U.S. household about $350 on gasoline in 2016 compared with 2015, with annual average motor fuel expenditures at the lowest level in 12 years.
  • North Sea Brent crude oil prices averaged $38/barrel (b) in March, a $6/b increase from February. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are forecast to average $35/b in 2016 and $41/b in 2017. However, the current values of futures and options contracts suggest high uncertainty in the price outlook. For example, EIA's forecast for the average WTI price in July 2016 of $35/b should be considered in the context of Nymex contract values for July 2016 delivery that were traded during the five-day period ending April 7 (Market Prices and Uncertainty Report), suggesting that the market expects WTI prices to range from $27/b to $57/b (at the 95% confidence interval).
  • U.S. crude oil production averaged an estimated 9.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015. It is forecast to average 8.6 million b/d in 2016 and 8.0 million b/d in 2017, which are both 0.1 million b/d lower than forecast in last month's report. EIA estimates that crude oil production in March 2016 averaged 9.0 million b/d, 90,000 b/d below the February 2016 level.
  • Natural gas inventories ended the winter heating season (March 31) at 2,478 billion cubic feet (Bcf), slightly above the previous end-of-March record high, set in 2012. End-of-March inventories were 67% above the level at the same time last year and 53% above the five-year average for that date. Henry Hub spot prices are forecast to average $2.18/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2016 and $3.02/MMBtu in 2017, compared with an average of $2.63/MMBtu in 2015.



Price Summary
  2014 2015 2016 2017
a West Texas Intermediate.
b Average regular pump price.
c On-highway retail.
d U.S. Residential average.
WTI Crude Oila
(dollars per barrel)
93.17 48.67 34.60 40.58
Brent Crude Oil
(dollars per barrel)
98.89 52.32 34.73 40.58
(dollars per gallon)
3.36 2.43 1.94 2.00
(dollars per gallon)
3.83 2.71 2.11 2.33
Heating Oild
(dollars per gallon)
3.72 2.65 1.97 2.18
Natural Gasd
(dollars per thousand cubic feet)
10.94 10.36 9.64 10.05
(cents per kilowatthour)
12.52 12.67 12.61 12.91

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Related Tables
Table SF01. U.S. Motor Gasoline Summer Outlook PDF
Table SF02. Average Summer Residential Electricity Usage PDF
Table 1. U.S. Energy Markets Summary PDF
Table 2. Energy Prices PDF
Table 9b. U.S. Regional Macroeconomic Data PDF
Table 9c. U.S. Regional Weather Data PDF
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