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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Rise Further
by Tom Moeller  July 24, 2012

The pump price of regular gasoline rose another six cents last week to $3.49 per gallon. Since the low three weeks ago prices have risen 14 cents (4.1%). Haver Analytics' seasonally-adjusted price for regular rose eight cents to $3.28 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 jumped w/w to $90.32, up 10 dollars per barrel during the last three weeks. Yesterday, the cost of crude fell back to $88.14 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude rose further last week to $105.92 per barrel but slipped to $104.11 yesterday.

Reduced driving and improved fuel economy lowered the demand for gasoline by 3.3% y/y last week. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, was off 32.2% y/y but distillate demand rose 1.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were unchanged year-to-year. That comparison was improved versus the 5.0% y/y decline this past fall.

Natural gas prices rose last week to $2.92 per mmbtu last week, the highest level since the first week of January. Yesterday, prices rose further to $3.10 but still were roughly half 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.  

How Well Is Our Financial System Serving Us? Working Together to Find the High Road is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin and it can be found here.


Weekly Price 07/23/12 07/16/12 07/09/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.49 3.43 3.41 -5.5 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 90.32 85.78 85.77 -7.8 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.92 2.81 2.85 -35.8 3.99 4.40 3.95
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