This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 12, 2003

EIA Anticipates Rising Costs for Gasoline and Heating Fuels

The price of unleaded gasoline hit near-record levels in February, hitting an average price of $1.66 per gallon, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA anticipates continued increases over the next few months. As the driving season begins in April, the EIA predicts peak prices of about $1.76 per gallon. The high gasoline prices are due in part to low inventories; high crude oil prices are also contributing to the price escalation. The EIA expects continued high crude oil prices, even without additional disruptions to world oil supplies.

Natural gas prices are also up, due to both high demand and low storage levels. The EIA estimates that natural gas prices this winter (October 2002 through March 2003) will average 79 percent above last winter's prices, and prices should remain high throughout the year. The prices haven't entirely reached consumers, however, as the EIA expects households heated with natural gas to pay only 30 percent more for heating this year than last, despite a colder winter. Users of heating oil, located mostly in the Northeast, are suffering the greatest impact, with an anticipated 60 percent increase in heating costs for the winter. See the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook for March 2003 (PDF 1.07 MB). Download Acrobat Reader.