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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Down Another 10 Cents
by Carol Stone  December 30, 2014

National average gasoline prices fell 10 cents more in the week ended December 29 to $2.30 a gallon from $2.40 the prior week; they are down 31.0% year-on-year. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price declined to $2.54 per gallon last week from $2.68.

WTI crude oil prices eased just a bit in the week ended December 26 to an average $55.74 per barrel (-43.8% y/y) from $55.81 during the prior week. Yesterday, December 29, they were down more to $53.61. These levels compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver declined to $58.66 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices fell to $59.22 last week (-45.8% y/y) and were $57.86 yesterday.

Natural gas prices resumed their decline in the week ended December 26, falling to $2.88 per mmbtu from the prior $3.60 (-34.7% y/y); yesterday they climbed to $3.01.

The demand for all petroleum products gained 1.0% y/y in the week ended December 19 and gasoline demand rose 4.1% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased an accelerated 4.0% y/y, the strongest such increase in five years, and gasoline inventories grew 2.8% y/y. There was some hint that lower prices may be impacting production, as the Baker Hughes rig count, covering actively operating rotary oil rigs, fell by 37 in the week ended December 26 to 1499, a third consecutive decline and the smallest number since early April.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and petroleum demand and inventory figures can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and greater detail on prices, demand and production, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 12/29/14 12/22/14 12/15/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.30 2.40 2.55 -31.0 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 55.74 55.81 61.14 -43.8 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.88 3.60 3.59 -34.7 3.73 2.75 3.99
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