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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Add to Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  February 12, 2013

The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose notably for the fourth consecutive week. Last week's seven cent increase to $3.61 per gallon (2.5% y/y) pulled them up 36 cents from the December low. 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 rose another 6 cents w/w to $3.82 per gallon. Prices now equal their October peak.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell $1.24 last week to $96.20 per barrel (-2.3% y/y) but yesterday prices recovered to $97.03. Brent crude oil prices rose to $117.27 per barrel last week (0.1% y/y) and increased further to $118.17 yesterday.

Natural gas prices posted a modest increase last week to $3.33 per mmbtu (32.5% y/y) but retreated to $3.22 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline surged 4.7% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by more than one-third y/y while distillate demand was off 3.6% 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 02/11/13 02/04/13 01/28/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.61 3.54 3.36 2.5 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 96.20 97.44 95.83 -2.3 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.33 3.27 3.52 32.5 2.75 3.99 4.
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