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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Slip As Crude Oil Moves Up
by Tom Moeller  December 17, 2013

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline prices fell to $3.24 (-2.4% y/y) last week and remained 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 last week to $3.60 per gallon, its highest level since late July.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil improved to $97.39 (13.9% 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 $97.48. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $109.19 per barrel (1.3% y/y) and yesterday were $109.89 per barrel.

Natural gas prices continued to firm last week to $4.31 per mmbtu and were nearly one-third higher versus last year. Yesterday, prices slipped to $4.25.

The demand for all petroleum products increased 4.0% y/y last week. Gasoline demand gained 2.6% y/y last week. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by roughly one-third y/y but distillate demand was roughly steady y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped 0.7% 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 12/16/13 12/09/13 12/02/13 Y/Y% 2012 2011 2010
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.24 3.27 3.27 -0.5 3.62 3.52 2.78
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 97.39 96.33 92.97 13.0 94.20 95.14 79.51
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.31 3.94 3.82 30.7 2.75 3.99 4.00
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