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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Add to Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  February 20, 2013

The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline has developed an uptrend. Last week's 14 cent increase to $3.75 per gallon pulled them up 4.3% y/y. 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 12 cents w/w to $3.94 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil rose $0.74 last week to $96.94 per barrel (-4.8% y/y) but yesterday prices slipped to $96.66. Brent crude oil prices rose to $118.09 per barrel last week (-1.5% y/y) but fell back to $117.04 yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell last week to $3.26 per mmbtu (28.8% y/y) and were stable at $3.25 yesterday.

Though the demand for gasoline remains down sharply from earlier highs, it surged another 4.4% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by more than one-third y/y while distillate demand was off 1.4% 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.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Weekly Price 02/18/13 02/11/13 02/04/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.75 3.61 3.54 4.3 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 96.94 96.20 97.44 -4.8 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.26 3.33 3.27 28.8 2.75 3.99 4.
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