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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Continued Lower
by Tom Moeller November 18, 2008

Falling by another fifteen cents w/w to $2.07 per gallon, the retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline was at its lowest level since early 2005 according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey. Prices have now fallen $2.04 per gallon, or by more than one-half, 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 $2.13 per gallon.

Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell eight cents from last week's average to $1.24. In futures trading the November contract closed down further at $1.17 per gallon.

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

The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the demand for gasoline fell by 2.9% y/y. The rate of decline has bottomed out recently but the decline is still the fastest since late-1995 (the latest four weeks versus the same four weeks last year). The demand for all petroleum products also has softened, falling 6.6% y/y.

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

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell further last week to an average $58.64 per barrel, down 60% since the peak in July of $145.66. In futures trading yesterday, the two-month price for crude oil was even lower at $54.95 per barrel.

Last week, prices for natural gas reversed the prior week's gain and ticked down to $6.65 per mmbtu (-7.4% y/y). The average price this month was nearly one-half below the high for natural gas prices in early-July of $13.19/mmbtu.

Signs of a Reprieve from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas can be found here.

Monetary Policy Transparency and Private Sector Forecasts: Evidence from Survey Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Weekly Prices 11/17/08 11/10/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 2.07 2.22 -33.1% 2.80 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 58.64 64.31 -37.4% 72.25 66.12 56.60
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