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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Price Decline Stabilizes
by Tom Moeller June 8, 2010

U.S. gasoline prices are down from their recent high, but the decline seems to be loosing momentum. The pump price of regular gasoline held steady last week at $2.73 per gallon prices and prices remained up more than three-quarters since the December 2008 low. Yesterday the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline also held roughly steady with last week's average of $1.94 which was up from the prior two weeks' average. The figures are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY & DAILY databases.

The average price for a barrel of light sweet crude (WTI) rose last week to $72.89 but remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday, crude prices slipped with Friday's weak U.S. employment report but at $71.44 per barrel were up from the May 24th low of $66.88.

Demand for gasoline seems to be slipping with higher prices. It fell 0.5% last week versus one year ago but that compares to a 3.0% decline in early-February. The demand for residual fuel oil jumped 32.0%% and distillate demand also surged 11.7% y/y. That's improved from a 12.3% decline during February. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped in late-May but still were up sharply from the early 2010 low.

U.S. natural gas prices strengthened further last week to an average $4.46 per mmbtu (17.5% y/y). Nevertheless, prices remained down from a high of $6.50 early in January.

The energy price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database while the daily figures are in DAILY. The gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Prices 06/07/10 05/31/10 05/24/10 y/y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.73 2.73 2.79 3.8% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 72.89 71.13 69.02 7.0% 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas Price ($/mmbtu) 4.46 4.18 4.25 17.5% 3.95 8.88 6.97
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