Don't expect cheap gasoline in 2006

Pump prices may have fallen recently, but analysts expect new regulations and strong worldwide demand to drive fuel prices higher in 2006.
U.S. oil prices skyrocketed after hurricanes damaged Gulf coast oil and gas infrastructure and restricted supply, but prices have come back down as the industry recovers.

But supplies are likely to be constrained again, this time as new, tougher U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements for low-sulfur gasoline and diesel require refineries to shut down for necessary modifications. Offshore supplies likely won't take up the slack, because foreign suppliers will send product to less restrictive markets.

Reduced-sulfur gasoline is required starting January 1, while new diesel requirements will start to phase in by June.

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