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Brent Crude Oil Spot Price Added to Short-Term Energy Outlook

Since the mid-1980s, benchmark crude oil prices such as West Texas Intermediate (WTI) in the United States and Brent crude oil in Europe have served as reference points that the market uses for pricing other crude oils. Since late 2010, however, WTI has been selling at a large discount to Brent, and has become less useful as an indicator for U.S. petroleum product prices.

Beginning with the July 2012 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will supplement its traditional WTI and average refiner acquisition cost (RAC) forecasts with a forecast of the Brent crude oil spot price that will directly enter into price forecasts for gasoline and other refined products in the STEO (see Brent Crude Oil Spot Price Added to Forecast). EIA currently expects the Brent crude oil price will average $99 per barrel over the second half of 2012 and $98 per barrel in 2013.

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