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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Price Continues Sideways Movement But Crude Oil Firms
by Tom Moeller   October 5, 2010

The pump price for regular gasoline has been roughly stable since June, close to last week's level of $2.73 per gallon. Prices remained down from $2.91 in early-May. To the upside, however, the moderate economic recovery has been enough to help pull prices up 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 was up to $2.15 vs. $2.04 last week.

Crude oil prices have firmed. The average price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil (WTI) increased last week to $78.42 but the price remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday crude prices rose again to $81.47 per barrel. U.S. natural gas prices fell last week to an average of $3.78 from $3.91 per mmbtu during September. Yesterday, prices fell further to $3.55 and were down from an early-January high of $6.50.

Demand for gasoline increased a reduced 0.9% during the latest week versus one year ago. The demand for residual fuel oil fell by 8.5% versus last year but distillate demand rose a strengthened 13.4% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products have been rising since the winter and were up 1.9% during the last twelve months.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and the gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY.

Fiscal Sustainability and Fiscal Rules is the title of Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech and it can be found here.

Weekly Prices 10/04/10 09/27/10 09/20/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.73 2.69 2.72 10.7% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 78.42 73.93 75.65 13.7 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.78 4.02 4.02 20.4 3.95 8.88 6.97
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