Filling up the tank costs less these days, and the price is expected to keep dropping into next year, despite the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Ukraine. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, predicts further drops at the pump throughout the third quarter of this year as lower refinery margins offset higher crude oil prices. The agency expects regular gasoline retail prices to average $3.54 per gallon in 2014 and $3.45 per gallon in 2015, compared with $3.51 per gallon last year. The national average was $3.47 for a gallon of regular unleaded this week, down 2 cents from this time last week and 15 cents from one month ago, AAA and GasBuddy.com reported. The national average price for this date last year was $3.55 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. “You’ll see some price increases after 40 days of steady decreases, but this is not a second wind for lofty gas prices,” stressed Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for GasBuddy. The potential for the kind of oil shocks that have periodically rocked the U.S. economy since 1973 have been diminished by rising U.S. production and steadily rising fuel economy of new vehicles.
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-Joseph Szczesny and Michael Strong, The Detroit Bureau