The federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. demand for gasoline to slow next year, helping to keep retail prices on a downward trend in 2016.
Americans drove a record 1.54 trillion miles during the first half of 2015, according to the Federal Highway Administration, compared with the previous high of 1.50 trillion miles in the first half of 2007. Monthly statistics show gasoline consumption in the United States increased by 3 percent during the first half of this year compared with the first six months of 2014.
However, gasoline consumption is forecast to remain flat in 2016, as a long-term trend toward vehicles that are more fuel-efficient offsets the effects of other factors.
In August, U.S. retail regular gasoline prices averaged $2.64 a gallon. EIA expects monthly average prices to decline in the coming months as refineries continue to produce high levels of gasoline, as demand begins to decrease following the peak in the summer driving season and as the market transitions to lower-cost winter-grade gasoline.
EIA projects regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.11 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2015. For all of 2015, the retail price of regular is expected to average $2.41 per gallon, down from $3.36 a gallon last year. In 2016, according to EIA projections, the retail price will average $2.38 per gallon.