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Economy in Brief

Weekly Gasoline Prices Meander Sideways
by Tom Moeller November 24, 2009

As they have since June, gasoline prices moved sideways last week. The pump price for regular gasoline of $2.64 per gallon was near $2.63 averaged during June. Nevertheless, prices remain up from the December low of $1.61. This week, wholesale gasoline prices fell from last week. The figures are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY & DAILY databases.

Notwithstanding the stability of gasoline prices, crude oil prices have moved higher and light sweet crude (WTI) rose to an average $78.36 per barrel last week from $74.89 averaged last month and from the December low of $32.37. Yesterday, the spot market price for light sweet crude oil fell to $76.56 per barrel.

Behind the stabilization in gasoline prices is a leveling of past gains in gasoline demand. Last week, it posted a 1.1% decline versus one year ago versus a 3.9% increase as of last month. Demand for residual fuel oil increased 23.0% y/y while distillate demand fell 10.6% y/y.

Natural gas prices have declined during the last four weeks to an average $3.35 per mmbtu (-49.9% y/y). They remained down by two-thirds from the high reached in early-July of last year of $13.19/mmbtu.

Weekly Prices 11/23/09 11/16/09 11/09/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.64 2.63 2.67 39.5% 3.25 2.80 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 78.36 78.21 79.04 49.7% 100.16 72.25 66.12
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