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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Jump
by Tom Moeller  February 5, 2013

The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline surged 18 cents last week to $3.54 per gallon (1.6% y/y). That followed a 4 cent rise during the prior week. Prices remain down 34 cents per gallon since their September peak. The norm for this time of year, when driving is reduced, is for prices to decline. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price jumped 17 cents w/w to $3.77 per gallon. Since their October peak, prices are down 6 cents per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil also rose another $1.61 last week to $97.44 per barrel (-0.4% y/y) but yesterday prices slipped back to $96.14. Brent crude oil prices rose to $115.69 per barrel last week (4.0% y/y) and increased further to $116.84 yesterday.

Natural gas prices retreated last week to $3.27 per mmbtu (+32.5% y/y) but rose to $3.29 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline increased 3.0% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by roughly one-third y/y while distillate demand was off 6.3% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products rose 2.7% 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 02/02/13 01/28/13 01/21/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.54 3.36 3.32 1.6 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 97.44 95.83 94.54 -0.4 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.27 3.52 3.43 32.5 2.75 3.99 4.
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