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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Remain Stable
by Tom Moeller   September 22, 2010

The pump price for regular gasoline has been roughly stable for the last four months near last week's level of $2.72 per gallon. Prices remained down from $2.91 in early-May. Nevertheless, pulled higher with recovery from the last recession, prices have risen from the late-2009 level of $2.61 and from the December-2008 low of $1.61. Yesterday the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline also was roughly steady at $1.95 vs. $1.99 last week. 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 up last week to $75.65 and the price remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday crude prices fell further to $73.52 per barrel. U.S. natural gas prices rose last week to an average of $4.02 from $3.82 per mmbtu at the beginning of the month. Yesterday, prices held steady at; $4.00 and were down from an early-January high of $6.50.

Demand for gasoline increased a reduced 0.5% during the latest week versus one year ago. The demand for residual fuel oil fell by 19.9% versus last year but distillate demand rose a strengthened 11.5% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products have been rising since the winter and were up 2.7% 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 09/20/10 09/13/10 09/13/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.72 2.72 2.68 6.7% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 75.65 74.87 74.03 6.0 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.02 3.82 3.80 25.0 3.95 8.88 6.97
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