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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Down Again
by Tom Moeller December 16, 2008

Regular gasoline prices continued lower, according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey. The latest price of $1.66 per gallon was down four cents per gallon from the prior week and was down from $4.11 per gallon early this past July. The latest decline was accompanied by a drop in the average price for all grades of gasoline to $1.72 per gallon.

Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline was up slightly from last week at $1.01 per gallon.

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

Though gasoline prices are down, that has done little to drive up product demand. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the demand for gasoline fell by 3.9% y/y, nearly the fastest since late-1995 (the latest four weeks versus the same four weeks last year). The demand for all petroleum products also fell 6.1% y/y.

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

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell last week by roughly one dollar from the prior week's average to $44.71 per barrel, down by two-thirds since the peak in July of $145.66. In futures trading yesterday, the one-month price for crude oil was $44.51.

Last week, prices for natural gas moved even lower to $5.70 per mmbtu (-20.4% y/y). The latest average price was 50% below natural gas prices in early-July of $13.19/mmbtu.

Weekly Prices 12/15/08 12/08/08 Y/Y 2007 2006 2005
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 1.66 1.70 -44.7% 2.80 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 44.71 45.50 -51.0% 72.25 66.12 56.60
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