September 12 Consumers are likely to pay more for gasoline and home heating oil this winter, but less than was forecast before the U.S. economy slipped back into the doldrums.
The retail price of gasoline in the fourth quarter will be $3.47 per gallon of regular gas19 cents less than in the current quarter and 33 cents less than the record high this year, forecasts the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA predicts home heating oil at $3.93 a gallon in the fourth quarter, 83 cents above the same period one year ago.
Through 2012, gas prices are expected to rise modestly. The price at the pump will peak at $3.60 a gallon in the second quarter, but fall back to $3.48 in the fourth quarter, just a penny above the fourth quarter 2011 price, says EIA.
Home heating oil in the fourth quarter 2012 is expected to rise to $3.99 a gallon, 83 cents higher than in the final quarter of this year.
"EIA's economic growth assumptions have been lowered substantially compared with [August's] Outlook," says the EIA September Short-Term Outlook. The current forecast, "assumes that U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) grows by 1.5% this year and 1.9% next year compared with 2.4% and 2.6%, respectively, in the previous Outlook."