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Economy in Brief

U.S. Petroleum Prices Continue Lower
by Tom Moeller  July 3, 2012

The start of the Summer driving season hasn't yet helped the price of gasoline. The pump price of regular gasoline declined eight cents to $3.38 per gallon last week. Since early April prices have fallen fifty eight cents (-14.8%). Haver Analytics' seasonally-adjusted price for regular fell five cents to $3.09 per gallon. This seasonally adjusted price is lower than the actual because gas prices typically rise with the summer driving season.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell $1.12 last week to $80.29. Yesterday, the cost of crude rose to $83.75 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude ticked up last week to $92.22 per barrel and rose further to $96.41 yesterday.

Reduced driving and improved fuel economy lowered the demand for gasoline by 4.8% y/y last week. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, was off 42.8% y/y while distillate demand was roughly unchanged y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products ticked up 0.4% year-to-year. That comparison was improved versus the 5.0%y/y decline this past fall.

Natural gas prices improved to $2.76 per mmbtu last week but were down 36.1% y/y. Yesterday, prices held steady w/w but still were off from the early-January 2010 peak 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 07/02/12 06/25/12 06/18/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.36 3.44 3.53 -6.2 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 80.29 81.41 83.32 -14.3 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.76 2.54 2.24 -36.1 3.99 4.40 3.95
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