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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Oil Prices Move Higher 
by Tom Moeller  July 13, 2011

Good news for consumers on the energy price front was interrupted last week as the pump price for regular gasoline rose six cents to $3.64 per gallon. Since their peak, however, prices still were down 33 cents. Pump prices usually rise 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 $3.37 per gallon, down 45 cents from the peak. Yesterday, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose to $3.04 versus last week's $2.98.

Crude oil prices also have moved up, last week to $97.10 for a barrel of WTI. However, they remained down from the late-April peak of $113.93. Yesterday, crude prices held at $97.43

Higher prices continued to negatively affect demand for petroleum products. Gasoline demand slipped 0.6% on average during the last four weeks versus last year. Demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, jumped 20.8% y/y while distillate demand fell 5.3%. 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 slipped w/w to $4.28 per mmbtu. Yesterday, prices rose back to $4.37 but remained 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 7/11/11 7/4/11 6/27/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.64 3.58 3.57 34.0 2.78 2.35 3.25
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 97.10 93.73 92.85 30.5 79.51 61.39 100.16
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.28 4.32 4.33 -7.3 4.40 3.95 8.88
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