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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Price Decline Stabilizes as Demand Firms
by Tom Moeller  November 19, 2013

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline edged 3 cents higher last week to $3.22 (-6.1% y/y), but remained near 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 rose 7 cents last week to $3.42 per gallon.

The demand for all petroleum products firmed by 5.0% y/y. Gasoline demand gained 4.7% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by 39.9% y/y but distillate demand gained 6.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 1.1% y/y.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil slipped to $93.95 (+9.4% y/y) last week, down from $108.77 in early September. Yesterday, prices continued lower to $93.03. Brent crude oil prices moved up last week to $107.10 per barrel (-1.9% y/y). Yesterday, prices ticked higher to $108.72 per barrel.

Natural gas prices improved last week to $3.61 per mmbtu (1.6% y/y). Yesterday, prices moved higher to $3.69 but remained down from the April peak of $4.26.

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 11/18/13 11/11/13 11/04/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.22 3.19 3.27 -6.1 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl.) 93.95 94.31 96.95 9.4 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 3.61 3.46 3.56 1.6 2.75 3.99 4.00
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