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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Price Decline Stabilizes; Natural Gas Surge Continues
by Tom Moeller  April 23, 2013

The price of regular gasoline held last week at $3.54 per gallon (-8.6% y/y). That followed eight weeks of decline from a $3.78 per gallon peak. The norm for this time of year, as driving picks up seasonally, is for prices to begin rising. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price also held w/w at $3.33 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of light sweet crude oil fell to $87.97 per barrel (-14.6% y/y), the lowest price since early-December. Yesterday prices improved slightly to $88.76. Brent crude oil prices fell to $98.23 per barrel (-16.2% y/y) last week but improved to $99.65 yesterday.

The recent surge in natural gas prices shows no sign of letting up. Prices rose further last week to $4.26 per mmbtu (128.7% y/y) and continued higher to $4.33 yesterday.

The demand for gasoline fell 3.3 y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by one-quarter y/y but distillate demand increased 2.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil & petroleum products rose 1.0% 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 04/22/13 04/15/13 04/08/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.54 3.54 3.61 -8.6 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 87.97 93.40 94.93 -14.6 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.26 4.14 4.02 128.7 2.75 3.99 4.00
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