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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Prices Drift Lower W/W But Remain Up One-Third Y/Y
by Tom Moeller  June 21, 2011

Last week, the pump price for regular gasoline fell six cents to $3.65 per gallon. Since last month's peak, prices have fallen 31 cents but remain up one-third versus last year. Pump prices usually start rising this time of year with increased seasonal demand. To account for this pattern, Haver Analytics calculates seasonal factors. As a result, the adjusted gasoline price fell further to $3.33 per gallon, down 49 cents from the peak. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell to $2.79 versus $2.87 last week, down from the late-April high of $3.30.

Lower crude oil prices have been behind the decline in gasoline costs. They fell to $95.89 for a barrel of WTI last week versus the late-April peak of $113.93. Yesterday, crude prices fell further to $93.26.

Higher prices continued to negatively affect demand for petroleum products. Gasoline demand inched up just 0.5% on average during the last four weeks versus last year. Demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, fell 4.8% y/y while distillate demand fell 3.6%. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 1.8% year-to-year compared to 10.0% growth in the middle of 2009.

Finally, natural gas prices fell w/w to $4.55 per mmbtu. Yesterday, prices rose fell further to $4.35 and were down from last year's early-January high of $6.50.

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

Shocks and the Economic Outlook from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

Weekly Price 6/20/11 6/13/11 6/6/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.65 3.71 3.78 33.1 2.78 2.35 3.25
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 95.89 100.01 100.90 25.0 79.51 61.39 100.16
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.55 4.86 4.67 -10.6 4.40 3.95 8.88
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