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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Continue to Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  February 24, 2015

It's costing more to drive automobiles and heat homes of late. Gasoline prices continued upward by 6 cents last week to $2.33 per gallon (-32.3% y/y) following the prior week's 7 cent increase. Prices have risen 29 cents (14.1%) since the low 4 weeks ago. Despite the gains, prices remained well below the $3.70 per gallon peak reached this past June. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price remained unchanged at $2.39 per gallon last week.

For the week ended February 20, WTI crude oil prices increased to an average $51.97 per barrel (-49.5% y/y), up from the low of $45.33 four weeks ago. Yesterday, prices reversed course and fell to $49.45 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics slipped to $53.84 per barrel last week. Brent crude oil prices increased to $60.57 per barrel last week (-44.8% y/y) but slipped to $59.78 yesterday.

Natural gas prices improved to $2.96 (-50.5% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended February 20. Prices strengthened to $3.19 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products improved 3.6% y/y and gasoline demand increased 3.5% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 8.0% y/y and gasoline inventories grew 4.2% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The petroleum demand and inventory figures are from the Oil & Gas Journal Weekly. These data 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 02/23/15 02/16/15 02/09/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.33 2.27 2.19 -32.3 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 51.97 51.14 50.58 -49.5 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.96 2.74 2.64 -50.5 4.37 3.73 2.7
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