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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise To Highest Level Since March
by Tom Moeller  July 23, 2013

A trip to the gas station is becoming more costly. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $3.68 last week (5.4% y/y), up four cents from the week prior. It was the highest price since early-March though it remained down from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached a month earlier. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price made up for earlier losses and jumped to $3.61 per gallon from an early-May low of $3.30. It remained below the February peak of $3.94.

Light sweet crude oil prices also have been on an uptrend. Last week's $2.17 rise to $106.98 per barrel (18.4% y/y) pulled prices to the highest level since the first week of March. Prices have jumped from the June 2012 low of $80.29. Yesterday prices were stable at $106.91. Brent crude oil prices also rose last week to $109.49 per barrel (3.4% y/y), but they remained down from the February high of $118.50.

Natural gas prices stabilized last week at $3.71 per mmbtu (26.9% y/y) and were $3.70 yesterday, down from the April peak of $4.26.

The demand for gasoline rose 2.3% y/y last week while the arrival of the summer driving season raised gasoline demand 7.4% since the April low. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, gained 7.1% y/y and distillate demand jumped 12.0% 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 07/22/13 07/15/13 06/08/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.68 3.64 3.49 5.4 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 106.98 104.81 100.03 18.4 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu) 3.71 3.66 3.54 26.9 2.75 3.99 4.00
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