WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- A Purdue University economist says he expects this summer's gasoline prices to be lower than last year.

Energy economics specialist Wally Tyner projects that prices in the Midwest will be between $3.50 and $3.90 a gallon, with prices in the South and Southeast between $3.15 and $3.55. He doesn't expect prices over $4, except on the West Coast.

Tyner says greater fuel efficiency and increased production by some countries should results in lower crude oil prices. He says oil production is growing faster than consumption for the first time since 2009.

Tyner cautions that refinery outages and world events are wild cards that could temporarily push gas prices higher. Rapid spikes in Midwest gas prices the past few months have occurred when refineries in Indiana and Illinois experienced breakdowns.