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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Price Rise Is Unrelenting
by Tom Moeller  September 5, 2012

For nine straight weeks gas prices have moved upward.The pump price of regular gasoline rose another six cents last week to $3.84 per gallon, the highest level since late April. And this is the time of year when seasonal price pressures should be easing with less driving. So when Haver Analytics made the adjustment, the seasonally-adjusted price for regular rose a greater eight cents w/w to $3.62 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil pulled back 79 cents w/w to $95.68 per barrel last week but still was up from the late-June weekly low of $80.92. Yesterday, the cost of crude slipped further to $95.30 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude also fell last week to $112.83 per barrel but recovered to $114.26 yesterday.

Natural gas prices slipped last week to $2.73 per mmbtu but yesterday jumped back to $2.86, still roughly half the early-January 2010 peak of $6.50.

Reduced driving and improved fuel economy lowered the demand for gasoline by 1.0% y/y last week. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, fell 13.6% y/y and distillate demand was off 6.2% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products ticked up 0.2% y/y. That comparison was improved from 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 09/03/12 08/27/12 08/20/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.84 3.78 3.74 4.6 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 95.68 96.47 94.42 8.6 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.73 2.78 2.77 -32.3 3.99 4.40 3.95
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