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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Are Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 7, 2013

Petroleum prices in the past have shown a nasty habit of firming with the onset of the summer driving season. The price of regular gasoline inched up two cents last week to $3.54 per gallon (-6.6% y/y). Prices reached a peak of $3.78 per gallon in late February. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility and the adjusted price also slipped w/w to $3.30 per gallon. This price has been down in each week since late-February. 

Also working upward last week was the price for light sweet crude oil. It rose to $93.72 per barrel (-9.4% y/y). Yesterday prices rose even further to $96.16. Brent crude oil prices fell to $101.60 per barrel (-13.0% y/y) last week but improved to $105.01 yesterday.

The earlier strength in natural gas prices eased further last week. Prices slipped to $4.21 per mmbtu (+86.9% y/y). Prices fell further yesterday to $3.93.

The demand for gasoline fell 1.8% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by 44.0% y/y while distillate demand was off 3.7% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 3.0% 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. 

Crises Before and After the Creation of the Fed from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.


Weekly Energy Prices 05/06/13 04/29/13 04/22/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.54 3.52 3.54 -6.6 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 93.72 91.20 87.97 -9.4 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 4.21 4.24 4.26 86.9 2.75 3.99 4.00
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