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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Are Stable But Crude Oil Costs Rise
by Tom Moeller  December 10, 2013

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline prices held at $3.27 (-2.4% y/y) last week. Still, prices were down 13.5% versus 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 slightly last week to $3.57 per gallon, its highest level since late July.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil increased to $96.33 (10.1% y/y) last week, the highest level since late October. Prices, nevertheless, remained down sharply from the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices rose further to $97.34. Brent crude oil prices moved up last week to $111.26 per barrel (1.3% y/y), but yesterday fell back to $109.49 per barrel.

Natural gas prices increased last week to $3.94 per mmbtu (16.3% y/y), the highest level since late-May. Yesterday, prices jumped further to $4.23 and were roughly even with the April peak of $4.26.

The demand for all petroleum products increased 5.6% y/y last week. Gasoline demand gained 3.3% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell 34.0% y/y but distillate demand held steady y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were roughly unchanged 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 petroleum demand and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 12/09/13 12/02/13 11/25/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.27 3.27 3.29 -2.4 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 96.33 92.97 93.92 10.1 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 3.94 3.82 3.68 16.3 2.75 3.99 4.00
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