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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Continue to Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 19, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline declined four cents last week to $3.47 (-2.2% y/y). Prices 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 held steady at $3.37 per gallon.

WTI crude oil prices added to their earlier weakness and slipped to $97.19 per barrel (-9.1% y/y). It was the lowest level since January. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver, improved to $98.21 per barrel yet remained up versus $92.19 in early-May. Yesterday, prices fell further to $96.41. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $102.05 per barrel (-7.9% y/y) and yesterday were $99.68.

Natural gas prices held steady last week at $3.87 per mmbtu (15.4% y/y) but remained near the lowest level since late-November. Yesterday, prices declined to $3.76.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 1.1% last week versus last year. Gasoline demand declined 1.3% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell another 9.4% y/y while distillate demand was essentially unchanged y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped 0.2% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 4.4% 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.

Weekly Energy Prices 08/18/14 08/11/14 08/04/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.47 3.51 3.52 -2.2 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 97.19 97.50 102.19 -9.1 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.87 3.88 3.76 15.4 3.73 2.75 3.99
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