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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Both Decline
by Tom Moeller  December 18, 2012

Petroleum prices continue under pressure. The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell another ten cents last week (+0.8% y/y) to $3.25 per gallon. Since their September peak prices have fallen sixty three 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 seven cents w/w to $3.65 per gallon. Since their October peak prices are down 21 cents per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil also fell last week to $86.15 per barrel (-12.6% y/y) but yesterday prices ticked higher to $86.73. Brent crude oil prices nudged up last week to $109.05 per barrel but fell back yesterday to $108.67    .

Natural gas prices continued down last week to $3.30 per mmbtu (+6.8% y/y) and slipped further to $3.15 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline fell 1.3% y/y last week but the demand trend has firmed substantially. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 14.1% y/y while distillate demand slipped 0.7% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products rose 2.1% 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 12/17/12 12/10/12 12/03/12 Y/Y% 2011 2010 2009
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.25 3.35 3.39 0.8 3.52 2.78 2.35
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 86.15 87.53 87.68 -10.1 95.14 79.51 61.39
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.30 3.39 3.67 6.8 3.99 4.40 3.95
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