By PAUL REKOFF
The US government Tuesday raised its predicted prices for most crude oil and petroleum products in the latest edition of its monthly energy forecast.
The forecasts were contained in the February update of the US Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy Outlook.
The agency of the Department of Energy inched up its 2012 outlook for West Texas Intermediate spot crude prices to $100.40/bbl from $100.25/bbl in its January forecast.
However, the 2013 estimate was unchanged at $103.75/bbl.
With crude prices serving as the fuel feedstock for petroleum products, it's not surprising that forecasts for gasoline and diesel also are up as well.
The 2012 forecast for the average price of retail gasoline was increased to $3.55/gal from $3.48/gal in January's estimate, while the numbers for next year climbed to $3.59/gal from $3.55/gal.
The EIA survey also predicts that the average monthly gasoline price this year will hit its highest - at $3.65 - in May and August.
Meanwhile, the agency predicted 2012 diesel prices would be $3.91/gal, up from $3.84/gal in January's survey. The 2013 forecast was $3.99, compared to the previous estimate of $3.93.
The outlook for 2012 home heating oil prices was raised to $3.91/gal from $3.84/gal in January's forecast. But the 2013 estimates were cut to $4.00 from $4.03.
Dow Jones Newswires