Retail gasoline prices nationwide during this summer’s driving season are expected to remain relatively flat compared with last year, federal energy analysts said Tuesday, in large part because of declining crude oil costs.
According to a short-term forecast released by the Energy Information Administration, the average price of gas from April through September will average $3.57 a gallon. That’s a penny less than the average cost of the fuel during the same period last year.
“For all intents and purposes, that’s the same number,’’ said Adam Sieminski, the agency’s administrator.
The slight decrease in gas prices, the agency’s report said, is mainly a result of crude oil prices, which are projected to fall through the end of 2015.
Crude oil accounts for about 70 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline; taxes, refining, and retail mark-ups make up the rest.
On the East Coast, data from the federal report showed, summer gasoline prices would also remain relatively flat — though prices were projected to rise by a penny to $3.53 a gallon, on average.
On Tuesday, the average price of gas in Massachusetts was $3.55 a gallon, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
Sieminski warned that turmoil in oil-producing countries, supply chain-disruptions, or storms that force refineries offline will all influence exactly what consumers pay for gas in the coming months.
“As always, there are lots of uncertainties,’’ he said.
The report also predicts that gasoline consumption will be flat, even as highway travel increases.
“Fuel economy improvements offset a good part of that,’’ Sieminski said.