In 2006 and 2007, total domestic energy demand is projected to increase at an annual rate of about 1.4 percent each year, contributing to continued market tightness and projected high prices for oil and natural gas, according to the latest metrics by the Energy Information Administration (EAI, www.eia.doe.gov).

Prices for crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas are projected to remain high through 2006 before starting to weaken in 2007. For example, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, which averaged $56 per barrel in 2005, is projected to average $63 per barrel in 2006 and $60 in 2007. Retail regular gasoline prices, which averaged $2.27 per gallon in 2005, are projected to average $2.41 in 2006 and $2.33 in 2007. Henry Hub natural gas prices, which averaged $9.00 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in 2005, are projected to average $9.80 in 2006 and $8.84 in 2007.

To view the EAI’s “Short-Term Energy Outlook” in its entirety, visit www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/contents.html.