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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Continue Upward
by Tom Moeller  September 18, 2012

For a month and a half gasoline prices have been on the rise. The pump price of regular gasoline rose three cents last week to $3.88 per gallon, the highest level since mid-April. At this is the time of year, seasonal price pressures should be easing with less driving. So when Haver Analytics made the adjustment, the seasonally-adjusted price for regular rose a slightly greater four cents w/w to $3.74 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil jumped $1.96 w/w to $97.61 per barrel last week and was up from the late-June weekly low of $80.92. Yesterday, the cost of crude held at $99.00 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Brent crude also rose last week to $115.55 per barrel but fell back to $113.94 yesterday. Haver's seasonally adjusted crude oil price rose to $95.52 per barrel.

Natural gas prices increased last week to $2.86 per mmbtu and yesterday rose slightly further to $2.90, still roughly half the early-January 2010 peak of $6.50.

The demand for gasoline slipped 0.1% y/y. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, fell 31.0% y/y and distillate demand was off 11.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 0.6% 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 09/17/12 09/10/12 09/03/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.88 3.85 3.84 7.7 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 97.61 95.65 95.68 9.8 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.86 2.83 2.73 -27.4 3.99 4.40 3.95
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