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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Hold Steady
by Tom Moeller  March 25, 2014

Energy prices did a lot of nothing last week. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline held steady w/w at $3.55 (-3.6% y/y), but still was up 35 cents from the January low. Prices remained below the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price fell three cents last week to $3.45 per gallon.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil also was unchanged last week at $99.55 (7.0% y/y) and remained below the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices were $99.60 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $106.36 per barrel (+0.2% y/y) and yesterday held at $106.34 per barrel.

Natural gas prices declined further last week to $4.47 per mmbtu (+12.2% y/y). Yesterday, prices fell to $4.28 per mmbtu.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 1.4% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 1.5% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 19.6% y/y while distillate demand increased 5.1% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 2.6% 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 03/24/14 03/17/14 03/10/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.55 3.55 3.51 -3.6 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 99.55 99.55 103.07 7.0 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.47 4.55 6.13 12.2 3.73 2.75 3.99
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