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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise Further Along With Crude Oil
by Tom Moeller  August 14, 2012

The pump price of regular gasoline added another eight cents last week to its fourteen cent gain during the prior period. At $3.72 per gallon prices recently have risen 36 cents (10.9%) to the highest since the middle of May. Haver Analytics' seasonally-adjusted price for regular rose seven cents w/w to $3.49 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 to $93.09, up from the late June weekly low of $80.92. Yesterday, the cost of crude slipped to $92.73 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude increased last week to $112.76 per barrel and rose further yesterday to $114.48.

Natural gas prices fell last week to $2.93 per mmbtu and yesterday prices fell further to $2.78, roughly half the early-January 2010 peak of $6.50.

Reduced driving and improved fuel economy lowered the demand for gasoline by 4.2% y/y last week. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, was off 23.5% y/y and distillate demand was off 2.8% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products ticked up 0.2% y/y. That comparison was improved versus the 5.0% y/y 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 08/13/12 08/06/12 07/30/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.72 3.65 3.51 3.2 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 93.09 89.06 89.03 12.3 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.93 3.12 3.12 -28.2 3.99 4.40 3.95
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