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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Below $3.00
by Tom Moeller October 21, 2008

For the first time since February of this year, the retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell below $3.00 per gallon. At $2.91, according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey, the price was the lowest since October of 2007. The latest decline was accompanied by a drop in the average price for all grades of gasoline to $2.97 per gallon.

The spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline during the last two days reversed some of its earlier weakness and rose to $1.92 after touching $1.78 last Thursday. In futures trading the November contract closed at $1.72 per gallon.

Weekly gasoline prices can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. Daily prices are in the DAILY database.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the demand for gasoline fell 4.8% during the last four weeks versus the same four weeks last year. The y/y decline was the largest since late 1995.

These DOE figures are available in Haver's OILWKLY database.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell sharply last week to an average $75.21 per barrel, down by nearly one half from the high in July of $145.66. In futures trading, the two-month price for crude oil fell yesterday to $74.39 per barrel.

Last week prices for natural gas fell to their lowest level since August of last year. At an average $6.67 per mmbtu prices were down 6.6% year-to-year. The decline stabilized yesterday and prices rose to $6.99 per mmbtu. The high for natural gas prices was in early-July at $13.19/mmbtu.

Weekly Prices 10/20/08 10/13/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 2.91 3.15 3.2% 2.80 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 75.21 86.23 -14.8% 72.25 66.12 56.60
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