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December 8, 2015 1:00 PM, EST

DOE Expects Diesel to Average $2.67 a Gallon in 2016

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The Department of Energy said it expects the price of diesel to average $2.67 a gallon in 2016 and gasoline to average $2.36.

Trucking’s main fuel is expected to average $2.71 a gallon this year, $1.12 lower than the 2014 average, DOE’s Energy Information Administration said in its monthly short-term energy outlook released Dec. 8.

“After paying the lowest Thanksgiving gasoline prices in seven years, U.S. drivers will continue to save money at the pump through December as low crude oil prices keep downward pressure on motor fuel costs,” EIA said in a statement.

Consumption of distillate fuel, which includes diesel fuel and heating oil, is expected by EIA to rise 1%, or 40,000 barrels a day in 2016, driven by increases in manufacturing output, foreign trade and marine fuel use.

EIA said Brent crude oil prices are forecast to average $56 a barrel in 2016 and for West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices to average $51 a barrel.

“While U.S. monthly onshore oil production is expected to continue declining through most of next year, oil output in the Gulf of Mexico is on track to steadily rise,” EIA said.

“Energy companies have cut back on their onshore oil exploration and drilling activities in response to low crude prices, but oil production in the Gulf of Mexico is less sensitive to short-term movements in crude prices as companies are committed to completing more complex and costly offshore oil projects once they begin,” according to EIA.

U.S. average diesel prices are at the lowest level in 6 1/2 years at $2.379 a gallon, Department of Energy reported Dec. 7. The latest decline left diesel just 2.5 cents above the U.S. average retail price of $2.354 on June 1, 2009.

Diesel is $1.156 lower than it was a year prior after the fourth consecutive weekly decline. The national average price of gasoline fell six-tenths of a cent to $2.053 a gallon as prices dropped in all regions except the Midwest, where it rose 1.3 cents to $1.890.

“Local fueling stations in some areas of the country are already selling gasoline for less than $2 a gallon, and those prices are expected to drop further in December,” EIA said.