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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Under Pressure
by Tom Moeller  November 13, 2013

Filling up at the gas pump has become less of a traumatic event. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline fell 8 cents last week to $3.19 (-7.4% y/y), the lowest level since February 2011. They're down from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached late in February. Much of the decline reflects less driving this time of year. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for this seasonal volatility. The adjusted price of $3.36 per gallon remained below the February peak of $3.94.

Also continuing downward have been light sweet crude oil prices. The per barrel cost of WTI crude fell to $94.32 (12.9% y/y) last week, down from $108.77 two months ago. Yesterday, prices continued lower to $93.04. Brent crude oil prices also fell last week to $104.67 per barrel (-3.9% y/y) and they remained down from the February high of $118.09. Yesterday, prices ticked higher to $105.64 per barrel.

Natural gas prices also have been under pressure. They declined last week to $3.46 per mmbtu (+2.1% y/y). Yesterday, prices moved higher to $3.69 but remained down from the April peak of $4.26.

The demand for all petroleum products rose 3.0% y/y. Gasoline demand gained 5.4% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by 29.8% y/y but distillate demand gained 8.2% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 1.1% 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 and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 11/11/13 11/04/13 10/28/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.19 3.27 3.29 -7.4 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 94.32 96.95 97.66 9.7 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 3.46 3.56 3.68 2.1 2.75 3.99 4.00
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