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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Meander Sideways
by Tom Moeller July 20, 2010

The pump price for regular gasoline held steady last week at $2.72 per gallon, about where it's been since late-May. That price is down, however, after an upturn through early-May to $2.90. Pulled higher by firm demand, prices have risen from the late-2009 level of $2.61. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline also was unchanged from last week at $1.99. 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 oil (WTI) was up modestly last week at $76.35 but the price remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday crude prices held steady at $76.54 per barrel.

U.S. natural gas prices slipped last week to an average $4.48 per mmbtu (26.4% y/y). Yesterday, prices remained steady with last week but were down from an  early-January high of $6.50.

Demand for gasoline increased 1.8% during the latest week versus one year ago. The demand for residual fuel oil fell by roughly one-quarter versus last year but  distillate demand continued strong and rose 12.9% y/y. That's improved from a 12.3% decline during February. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products have been rising since the winter but slipped during the last twelve months.

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 07/19/10 07/12/10 07/05/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.72 2.72 2.73 10.5% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 76.35 74.4 74.98 24.6 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.48 4.62 4.66 36.4 3.95 8.88 6.97
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