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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Slip But Crude Oil Breaks $100.00 per Barrel
by Tom Moeller  July 9, 2013

The price of regular gasoline edged lower last week to $3.49 per gallon. That remained its lowest level since early January. Prices were well below the $3.78 per gallon peak reached late in February. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price also fell for the fourth consecutive week. At $3.44 per gallon it compared to a February peak of $3.94.

Working sharply higher, however, were light sweet crude oil prices. Last week's $4.11 rise to $100.03 per barrel (16.6% y/y) pulled prices to the highest level since the first week of May. Prices have jumped from the June 2012 low of $80.29. Yesterday prices rose further to $103.14. Brent crude oil prices also rose last week to $105.24 per barrel (6.3% y/y), but they remained down from the February high of $118.50.

With the heating season overnatural gas prices have been under modest pressure. They declined last week to $3.54 per mmbtu (+24.3% y/y) and were $3.66 yesterday, down from the April peak of $4.26.

The demand for gasoline was unchanged y/y last week. The arrival of the summer driving season has raised gasoline demand 5.1% since the April low. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 12.0% y/y but distillate demand rose 10.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories jumped 9.1% 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 07/08/13 07/01/13 06/24/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.49 3.50 3.58 2.4 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 100.03 95.92 96.71 16.6 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.54 3.72 3.88 24.3 2.75 3.99 4.00
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