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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Firm
by Tom Moeller  April 1, 2014

Petroleum prices resumed their upward movement last week. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $3.58 (-1.8% y/y) and was at the highest level since early September. 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 held last week at $3.44 per gallon.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil increased last week to $100.58 (4.5% y/y) but remained below the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices were $101.58 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices inched up last week to $106.51 per barrel (-0.9% y/y) and yesterday were $106.66 per barrel.

The demand for all petroleum products gained 1.1% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 3.4% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 37.0% y/y while distillate demand slipped 0.9% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 2.2% 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 03/31/14 03/24/14 03/17/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.58 3.55 3.55 -1.8 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 100.58 99.77 99.55 4.5 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) -- 4.44 4.55 -- 3.73 2.75 3.99
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