PORTLAND, Maine — As Maine’s weather starts to hint at summer, gas prices are also hinting at increases to come.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects gas prices in the Northeast will average 26 cents higher than last summer. But looking back further, this summer will still deliver some of the lowest prices in recent years.

The federal EIA on Tuesday projected the price of regular gasoline in New England will average $2.44 per gallon for the summer, up from $2.18 last year.

As of Monday, the average price per gallon of regular gasoline in Maine was $2.31, according to the price tracking site GasBuddy.com. Some of the recent increases in prices derive from refineries switching to a more expensive summer blend of fuel.

For the full year, the EIA estimates U.S. households will spend about $200 more on transportation expenses than last year. It expects that consumption will remain relatively level with last year as the price of crude oil rises, with some level of uncertainty about the degree of that rise.

Based on trading in futures and options contracts for crude oil, the EIA estimates there’s a 10 percent chance the U.S. benchmark price for West Texas Intermediate crude oil could top $60 per barrel in July. WTI crude oil was trading at $53.22 mid-day Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.