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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gas & Oil Prices Hold Roughly Stable W/W
by Tom Moeller  July 6, 2011

The pump price for regular gasoline rose one penny to $3.58 per gallon last week, still nearly the lowest level since mid-March. Since last month's peak, prices have fallen 38 cents but remain up nearly 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 rose slightly to $3.30 per gallon, down 52 cents from the peak. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose w/w to $2.91, but still was down from the late-April high of $3.30.

Crude oil prices rose slightly last week to $93.73 for a barrel of WTI but remained down versus the late-April peak of $113.93. Yesterday, crude prices fell further to $96.89, the highest level since mid-June.

Higher prices continued to negatively affect demand for petroleum products. Gasoline demand slipped 0.3% on average during the last four weeks versus last year. Demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, rose 13.1% y/y while distillate demand fell 4.7%. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products again fell 2.0% year-to-year compared to 10.0% growth in the middle of 2009.

Finally, natural gas prices held roughly stable w/w at $4.32 per mmbtu. Yesterday, prices ticked up to $4.38 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

Weekly Price 7/4/11 6/27/11 6/20/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.58 3.57 3.65 31.3 2.78 2.35 3.25
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 93.73 92.85 95.89 25.0 79.51 61.39 100.16
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.32 4.33 4.55 -7.2 4.40 3.95 8.88
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