Updated: Thursday, 21 Mar 2013, 5:45 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 21 Mar 2013, 5:45 PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — The United States is increasing its oil production faster than ever. And American drivers are guzzling less gas.
But the national average price of a gallon of gas has surged to $3.69 a gallon. And it's expected to go higher -- perhaps approaching $4 by May.
Last year, U.S. oil output rose 14 percent to 6.5 million barrels a day -- a record increase. Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline demand is at its lowest level since 2001, as people switch to more fuel-efficient cars.
The experts say the laws of supply and demand haven't been repealed. They're working -- but not the way U.S. drivers want them to.
U.S. drivers compete with drivers around the world for every gallon of gas. And as the economies of Asia and Latin America expand, their energy consumption is rising. That puts pressure on fuel supplies and prices everywhere.
While the U.S. still consumes more oil than any other country, imports are falling. That leaves China, the world's largest oil importer, as the single biggest influence on global demand. And its consumption has risen 28 percent in five years.
Other factors making gas more expensive are high crude oil prices and temporary shutdowns of refineries in the winter.
273-v-32-(Jack Briggs, AP correspondent)--Oil production is up in the U.S. but gas prices continue to rise. AP correspondent Jack Briggs reports. (21 Mar 2013)
<<CUT *273 (03/21/13)>> 00:32
APPHOTO NYBZ303: FILE - In this Thursday, May 10, 2012, file photo, drivers navigate in a congestion of traffic at Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2011, the U.S. became a net exporter of fuels for the first time in 60 years. Mexico and Canada are the two biggest destinations for U.S. fuels, followed by Brazil and the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File) (10 May 2012)
<<APPHOTO NYBZ303 (05/10/12)>>
APPHOTO NYBZ306: FILE- In this Thursday, May 21, 2009, file photo, Gas prices are shown on a sign at a gas station, in Grand Prairie, Texas. U.S. oil output rose 14 percent to 6.5 million barrels per day in 2012, a record increase, but you'd never know it from the price at the pump. The national average price of gasoline is $3.69 per gallon and it is forecast to creep higher and could approach $4 by May. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File) (21 May 2009)
<<APPHOTO NYBZ306 (05/21/09)>>
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