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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Drift Lower
by Tom Moeller  October 2, 2012

The pump price of regular gasoline fell three cents last week to $3.80 per gallon. Less driving again helped pump prices move lower. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to reflect this pressure. After adjustment the price for regular gasoline rose two cents w/w to $3.78 per gallon.

The weakening of global economies helped the price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil to fall $2.87 w/w to $91.46 per barrel, the lowest level since the first week of August. Yesterday, the cost of crude recovered slightly to $92.48 per barrel. Prices peaked at $113.93 in April, 2011. Haver's seasonally adjusted crude oil price fell to $89.32 per barrel, off $3.90 w/w. Brent crude also fell last week to $110.71 per barrel but recovered to $112.73 yesterday.

Natural gas prices recovered to $2.93 per mmbtu last week and yesterday rose further to $3.19.

The demand for gasoline fell 1.0% y/y. The demand for residual fuel oil, used for heating, fell 45.0% y/y and distillate demand was off 8.7% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 1.3% 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.

Five Questions about the Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy is the title of yesterday's speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

 

Weekly Price 10/01/12 09/24/12 09/17/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.80 3.83 3.88 10.8 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 91.46 94.33 97.61 12.3 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 2.93 2.75 2.86 -23.1 3.99 4.40 3.95
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