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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Ease
by Tom Moeller  April 9, 2013

The upcoming summer driving season will potentially be a little easier on motorists' wallets. To gain perspective, Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for the normal seasonal volatility in gasoline prices. Last week, the adjusted retail price fell 8 cents to $3.42 per gallon and prices were down 52 cents from the peak two months ago. The pump price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell by 4 cents last week to $3.61 per gallon. During the last twelve months, prices have fallen 8.4% from the peak of $3.94.

The price for light sweet crude oil slipped $1.31 last week to $94.93 per barrel (-8.3% y/y). Prices have moved erratically sideways since the middle of last year. Yesterday prices slipped further to $93.36. Brent crude oil prices declined to $107.18 per barrel (-14.2% y/y) but fell yesterday to $103.79.

Natural gas prices continued firm. Last week's slip to $4.02 per mmbtu nevertheless left them roughly double last year's level. Yesterday, prices continued to strengthen and rose to $4.18 per mmbtu.

The demand for gasoline fell 1.2% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, were up 15.2% y/y and distillate demand gained 5.5% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products were roughly unchanged y/y following a build-up to this January's peak.

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 04/08/13 04/01/13 03/25/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.61 3.65 3.68 -8.4 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 94.93 96.24 93.00 -8.3 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.02 4.05 3.99 102.7 2.75 3.99 4.00
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