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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Approach Lowest Level This Year As Crude Oil Remains Weak
by Tom Moeller September 8, 2010

The soft U.S. economy has done nothing to help oil & gas prices. The pump price for regular gasoline held steady last week at $2.68 per gallon, the lowest since February and down from $2.91 in early-May. Nevertheless, prices remained up from the December-2008 low of $1.61. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $1.95, its highest in two weeks. 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) ticked higher last week to $74.03 but still remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Crude prices held roughly steady at yesterday's $74.09 per barrel.

U.S. natural gas prices fell last week to an average of $3.80 and were down sharply from $5.18 per mmbtu averaged in June. Yesterday, prices were roughly stable at $3.82 but were down from an early-January high of $6.50.

Demand for gasoline increased 2.0% during the latest week versus one year ago, firming from declines as of January. The demand for residual fuel oil fell by 18.3% versus last year but distillate demand rose a lessened 7.8% y/y. That's still improved from a 12.3% decline during February. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products have been rising since the winter and were up 2.5% 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 09/06/10 08/30/10 08/23/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.68 2.68 2.70 3.6% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 74.03 72.94 74.86 8.2 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.80 3.93 4.29 71.6 3.95 8.88 6.97
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