The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasted higher gasoline and diesel prices in its monthly short-term energy and summer fuels outlook.

The EIA forecasts that gas will be almost 50 cents higher during this summer's driving season (the period between April 1 and September 30), climbing from $2.44 per gallon to $2.92 per gallon.

Gas prices are forecasted to average $2.84 in 2010 and $2.96 in 2011, up from $2.35 per gallon in 2009, primarily because of projected rising crude oil prices. 

Diesel fuel prices averaged $2.46 per gallon last summer, but are projected to average $2.97 per gallon this summer.

Diesel prices are forecast at $2.95 and $3.12 per gallon in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Diesel's national average topped $3 for the first time since November 2008, jumping 7.6 cents to $3.015 a gallon.

Oil averaged $81 per barrel in March, almost $5 higher than the previous month and $3 over the previous month's short-term outlook. The Department of Energy said it expects crude to average above $81 per barrel this summer, slightly less than $81 for the year, and then rise to $85 per barrel by the fourth quarter 2011.