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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Continue To Rebound
by Tom Moeller  May 14, 2013

The upcoming summer driving season is lending strength to petroleum prices. The price of regular gasoline gained six cents last week to $3.60 per gallon yet it's still 4.0% lower than last year. 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 rose w/w to $3.35 per gallon. 

Continuing upward last week was the price for light sweet crude oil. It rose to $96.17 per barrel (-0.8% y/y), up from the recent low of $87.97. Yesterday prices slipped to $95.17. Brent crude oil prices increased as well last week to $103.78 per barrel (-7.2% y/y) but slipped to $102.03 yesterday.

The earlier strength in natural gas prices eased further last week. Prices fell to $3.89 per mmbtu (+67.3% y/y) but they stabilized yesterday at $3.88.

The demand for gasoline fell 2.4% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell roughly one third y/y while distillate demand was off 2.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 3.8% 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 Energy Prices 05/13/13 05/06/13 04/29/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.60 3.54 3.52 -4.0 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 96.17 93.72 91.20 -0.8 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.89 4.21 4.24 67.3 2.75 3.99 4.00
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