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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Moved Higher
by Tom Moeller January 6, 2008

Regular gasoline prices moved seven cents higher last week and nearly recouped the declines of the prior three periods, according to the U.S. Department of Energy survey. Nevertheless, at $1.68 per gallon the price was about even with the December average and down from $2.75 for all of November. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose another seven cents to $1.14 per gallon.

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

Product demand continues to fall despite lower prices, pulled down by the developing economic recession. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that the demand for gasoline fell by 3.2% y/y, nearly the fastest rate of decline since late-1995 (the latest four weeks versus the same four weeks last year). The demand for all petroleum products also fell 3.7% y/y.

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

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil also moved higher last week to $42.50 per barrel, the highest level in three weeks and up from the $40.56 averaged last week. Prices reached their high of $145.66 last July. In futures trading yesterday, the one-month price for crude oil was $48.81.

Last week, prices for natural gas recouped the prior week's decline and rose to $5.66 per mmbtu (-26.2% y/y). The latest average price was 50% below natural gas prices in early-July of $13.19/mmbtu.

Weekly Prices 01/05/09 12/29/08 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon) 1.68 1.61 -45.8% 3.25 2.80 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 42.50 32.37 -56.7% 100.16 72.25 66.12
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