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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Retrace Earlier Increase
by Tom Moeller  March 5, 2013

The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline backpedaled by two cents last week to $3.76 per gallon (-0.9% y/y) following the prior week's three cent rise. It was the first weekly easing in prices since December. Nevertheless, prices have risen 51 cents (15.5%) since the mid-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 fell 14 cents w/w to $3.75 per gallon.

Accompanying the gasoline price decline was a lower price for crude oil. The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell to $92.25 per barrel (-14.2% y/y), the lowest price since late-December. Yesterday prices fell further to $90.12. Brent crude oil prices fell to $112.37 per barrel (-9.4% y/y) last week and slipped to $109.86 yesterday.

Natural gas prices rose last week to $3.50 per mmbtu (43.5% y/y) and inched higher to $3.54 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline rose 2.0% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 41.6% y/y but distillate demand increased 4.4% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products rose 1.7% 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 03/04/13 02/25/13 02/18/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.76 3.78 3.75 -0.9 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 92.25 94.27 96.94 -14.2 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.50 3.29 3.26 43.5 2.75 3.99 4.00
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