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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Lowest Since March '07 As Demand Falls
by Tom Moeller October 28, 2008

The retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell by twenty five cents last week. At $2.66 per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey, the price was the lowest since March of 2007. Prices have now fallen roughly $1.50 per gallon, or by one-third, since their peak early this past July. The latest decline was accompanied by a drop in the average price for all grades of gasoline to $2.72 per gallon.

Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell further to $1.60, down twenty cents from last week's average. In futures trading the November contract closed down further at $1.48 per gallon.

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

In reaction to the general slowing of U.S. economic growth and relatively high prices, the demand for gasoline is down. The 4.2% y/y decline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, was the largest y/y drop since late 1995 (the latest four weeks versus the same four weeks last year).

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 $68.16 per barrel, down by more than one half from the high in July of $145.66. In futures trading, the two-month price for crude oil was down further yesterday at $63.71 per barrel.

Last week prices for natural gas were near their lowest level since August of last year. At an average $6.73 per mmbtu, prices ticked up slightly from the prior week but the average price this month was nearly one-half below the high for natural gas prices in early-July of $13.19/mmbtu.

Weekly Prices 10/27/08 10/20/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 2.66 2.91 -7.5% 2.80 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 68.18 75.21 -23.9% 72.25 66.12 56.60
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