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OPEC will earn a record $1.05 trillion in 2012 in oil revenues

OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is set to earn a record $1.05 trillion this year in net oil export revenues, the U.S. Energy Department says.

In 2011, OPEC raked in more than $1 trillion in net oil export revenues for the first time ($1.03 trillion), the Energy Department said.

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As a consequence, Americans will pay the highest average price ever for gasoline this year. The U.S. average for a gallon of regular gasoline in 2012 will be $3.63 a gallon.

The 2012 average breaks the old record, set last year, of $3.53 a gallon.

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OPEC will have to tighten its collective belt a bit in 2013, when it will earn a projected $955 billion.

The Energy Department did have some encouraging news for Americans.

U.S. oil production is set to average 6.4 million barrels a day in 2012 as the nation continues to reduce its dependence on foreign crude.

The U.S. oil production boom is being driven by states like North Dakota and Texas.

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In 2013, the Energy Department predicts that U.S. oil production will increase to 7.1 million barrels a day, which would be the highest level since 1992.

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