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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Remain Unchanged; Crude Oil Continues Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 28, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline held at $3.67 last week (0.8% y/y), steady at that level for all of this month. 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 notched up four cents to $3.46 per gallon, the highest level in four weeks.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil increased last week to $103.58 (8.9% y/y), the highest level in five weeks. The seasonally adjusted price of $103.16 per barrel was up sharply from $92.04 just three weeks ago. Yesterday prices improved again to $104.11. Brent crude oil prices gained last week to $110.66 (8.0% y/y) and yesterday were $109.80 per barrel.

Natural gas prices were roughly steady at $4.49 per mmbtu (8.6% y/y) but slipped to $4.43 yesterday. Prices remained at nearly the lowest level in two months.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 1.8% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 5.2% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 12.8% y/y while distillate demand improved 7.7% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were off 1.2% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 3.3% 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 05/26/14 05/19/14 05/12/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.67 3.67 3.67 0.8 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 103.58 101.92 100.29 8.9 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.49 4.43 4.73 8.6 3.73 2.75 3.99
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