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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Post A Further Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 12, 2012

They've been falling now for two months. Last week, the pump price of regular gasoline again declined four cents to $3.57 per gallon. Since early April prices have fallen thirty seven cents (-9.4%) and they've retraced roughly one-half of the run-up early this year. Haver Analytics' seasonally-adjusted price for regular declined five cents to $3.26 per gallon. Yesterday, the wholesale price for a gallon of unleaded was $2.70 versus $2.69 averaged last week.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell another $2.65 last week to $84.84. Yesterday, the cost of crude slipped to $84.10 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude declined last week to $99.25 per barrel and fell further to $98.30 yesterday.

Natural gas prices slipped to $2.33 per mmbtu and were down 51.9% y/y. Yesterday, prices slipped further to $2.22, off from the early-January 2010 peak of $6.50.

Reduced driving and improved fuel economy lowered the demand for gasoline by 4.0% y/y last week. The demand for residual fuel oil demand, used for heating, was off nearly one-third and distillate demand fell 5.0% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped 0.3% year-to-year. That comparison was improved versus the 5.0% decline this past fall.

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 06/11/12 06/04/12 05/28/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.57 3.61 3.67 -3.8 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 84.44 87.09 91.07 -15.6 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.33 2.37 2.60 -51.9 3.99 4.40 3.95
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