Weekly Energy Report - January 13, 2022
In our latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, we expect regular gasoline retail prices to average $3.06/gal in 2022, up from $3.00/gal in 2021, and then down to $2.80/gal in 2023. We expect on-highway diesel prices to increase to average $3.33/gal in 2022 before decreasing to $3.27/gal in 2023. In our forecast, annual average diesel demand reaches 2019 levels in the United States in 2022.
In our January 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), we forecast that crude oil prices will fall from 2021 levels. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the price of Brent crude oil, the international pricing benchmark, averaged $79 per barrel (b). We forecast that the price of Brent will average $75/b in 2022 and $68/b in 2023.
Operators have scheduled 14.9 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity to retire in the United States during 2022, according to our latest inventory of electric generators. The majority of the scheduled retirements are coal-fired power plants (85%), followed by natural gas (8%) and nuclear (5%).
In 2022, we expect 46.1 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale electric generating capacity to be added to the U.S. power grid, according to our Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory. Almost half of the planned 2022 capacity additions are solar, followed by natural gas at 21% and wind at 17%.
Average wholesale prices for electricity at major trading hubs in the United States were higher in 2021 than in 2020 as increasing costs for power generation fuels, especially natural gas, pushed electricity prices higher in the second half of 2021. Constraints on electricity supply as a result of cold weather in the central United States also created price spikes in February 2021.
The wholesale spot price for natural gas at the Henry Hub in Louisiana (the U.S. benchmark for natural gas prices) averaged $3.89 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2021, almost doubling from the 2020 average, according to data from Refinitiv.