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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Renew Decline
by Tom Moeller  December 4, 2012

Last week the pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline declined five cents (+3.2%) to $3.39 per gallon. Since their September peak, prices have fallen forty nine cents per gallon. The norm for this time of year of less driving is for prices to decline. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price fell a lesser three cents w/w to $3.74 per gallon. Since their October peak prices are down twelve cents per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell slightly last week to $87.68 per barrel. Yesterday prices showed renewed strength and rose to $89.09. Brent crude oil prices slipped last week to $109.86 per barrel but recovered to $110.95 yesterday.

Natural gas prices improved slightly last week to $3.67 per mmbtu but yesterday weakened sharply to $3.44.

The demand for gasoline eased 0.3% y/y late last month but the demand trend has firmed substantially. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, rose 6.2 y/y but distillate demand declined 0.8% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products rose 2.4% y/y.

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 12/03/12 11/26/12 11/19/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.39 3.44 3.43 3.2 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 87.68 87.80 85.88 -12.2 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.67 3.65 3.56 8.7 3.99 4.40 3.95
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