(Adds oil demand in nonindustrial countries, U.S. winter fuel prices)
WASHINGTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - U.S. oil demand during the first half of 2008 fell by an average 800,000 barrels per day compared to the same period a year ago, the biggest volume decline in 26 years, the Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.
In its latest monthly energy forecast, the EIA said the huge drop in demand was due to slower U.S. economic growth and the impact of high petroleum prices.
The drop in U.S. oil demand helped offset a 1.3-million-barrel-per-day increase in petroleum consumption in nonindustrial countries during the first half of the year.
As a result, preliminary data shows that global oil consumption rose by 500,000 barrels a day in the 6-month period, the EIA said.
High gasoline prices have cut into U.S. demand, but the EIA expects lower pump costs through December than previously forecast.
However, U.S. consumers will be hit with much higher heating fuel costs this winter, the agency warned.
The average residential price for heating oil during the upcoming heating season, which runs from October through March, is forecast to be $4.34 a gallon, up 31 percent from last winter.
Households that use natural gas as their heating fuel will pay an average $15.58 per thousand cubic feet of gas, about 22 percent more than last winter, the EIA said. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.