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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Edge Down
by Tom Moeller  August 20, 2013

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline slipped one penny last week to $3.55 last week (-5.2% y/y). Prices remained down from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached late in February. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price rose two cents w/w to $3.46 per gallon yet remained below the February peak of $3.94.

Light sweet crude oil prices continued firm. Last week's rise to $106.92 per barrel (13.2% y/y) brought it back to nearly its two-year high. Yesterday, prices improved further to $107.10.  Prices have jumped from the June 2012 low of $80.29. Brent crude oil prices also improved last week to $110.76 per barrel (-4.1% y/y) yet they remained down from the February high of $118.09.

Natural gas prices were roughly steady last week at $3.35 per mmbtu (21.0% y/y) and were $3.47 yesterday, down from the April peak of $4.26.

The demand for gasoline rose 2.6% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 40.2% y/y but distillate demand increased 8.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories increased 7.5% 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 08/19/13 08/12/13 08/05/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.55 3.56 3.63 -5.2 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 106.92 105.15 105.50 13.2 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 3.35 3.32 3.44 21.0 2.75 3.99 4.00
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