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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Hold Steady; Crude Oil Gains
by Tom Moeller  May 20, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline held at $3.67 last week (-0.2% y/y) for the third straight week. The price remained down from the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. To account for seasonal volatility, Haver Analytics constructs factors for adjustment of pump prices. The adjusted cost of gasoline also was stable at $3.42 per gallon for the third straight week.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil improved last week to $101.76 (7.1% y/y) from $100.29. The seasonally adjusted price of $100.29 per barrel was up sharply from $92.04 just two weeks ago. Yesterday prices increased further to $102.61. Brent crude oil prices gained last week to $109.51 (6.5% y/y) and yesterday were $110.50 per barrel.

Natural gas prices held steady w/w at $4.74 per mmbtu (22.0% y/y) but fell to $4.52 yesterday. Prices remained at nearly the lowest level in two months.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 1.0% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 3.2% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 2.3% y/y while distillate demand improved 12.7% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were off 1.1% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 2.4% 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.

The Slowdown in Existing Home Sales from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Weekly Energy Prices 05/19/14 05/12/14 05/07/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.67 3.67 3.68 -0.2 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 101.76 100.29 100.39 7.1 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.74 4.74 4.76 22.0 3.73 2.75 3.99
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