During the busy 2005 driving season of April through September, gasoline will average $2.10 a gallon, up 20 cents from the same period last year, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly energy forecast.
This spring, the monthly retail price is forecast to average $2.15 per gallon but U.S. drivers may face pump prices higher than that on a weekly basis, said analyst Dave Costello. He declined to speculate how high the retail gasoline price could climb in areas such as California, which usually has some of most expensive gasoline in the nation.
"Higher prices... into May or June seem pretty likely to us," Costello said.
The record average nationwide price is $2.06 a gallon set last May. However, when adjusted for inflation in today's dollars, the highest U.S. price was $3.08 a gallon in March 1981, according to the Energy Department's analytical arm.
U.S. gasoline prices rank among the lowest in the world for industrialized countries.
The current average pump price for regular unleaded fuel is $2 a gallon, the EIA said. That represents a climb of nearly 22 cents a gallon since the beginning of the year.