Scant relief: Summer's gas price to dip a penny

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NEW YORK — Drivers will get the slightest of breaks on gasoline prices this summer, according to the Energy Department.

The national average price is forecast to fall — by one cent — to $3.57 a gallon between April and September, when Americans drive most.

That would be the lowest average summer price since 2010.

For the year, the department’s Energy Information Administration expects gasoline to average $3.45 a gallon, down from $3.51 last year and also the lowest since 2010.

World demand for oil is growing, but supplies are growing faster than demand, thanks to higher production in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere.

The price of Brent crude, a benchmark used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries and the most important factor in gasoline prices, is forecast to fall 4 percent this year.

U.S. drivers are expected to burn slightly more gasoline than they did last year, according to the EIA. More people will drive more miles as the economy continues to improve, but they are driving more fuel-efficient cars. That will prevent gasoline demand from rising as fast as the number of miles driven.

EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski warned Tuesday that unexpected factors could change prices. The average price of gasoline last summer was five cents lower than what EIA had forecast last spring.