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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Reach Another High; Crude Oil Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  March 3, 2015

Gasoline prices continued upward by 14 cents last week to $2.47 per gallon (-28.9% y/y) following the prior week's 6 cent increase. Prices have risen 43 cents (21.0%) since the low 5 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 moved up 10 cents last week to $2.49 per gallon and increased 25 cents (11.2%) from the low, indicating that much of recent pump price rise was to be expected.

For the week ended February 27, WTI crude oil prices declined to an average $49.53 per barrel (-51.8% y/y), but still were higher than the low of $45.72. Yesterday, prices held steady at $49.59 per barrel. These prices compare to a June peak of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price generated by Haver Analytics declined to $50.38 per barrel last week, up from the low of 48.99. Brent crude oil prices were steady last week at $60.63 per barrel (-44.5% y/y) and were $60.75 yesterday.

Natural gas prices increased to $3.08 (-41.0% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended February 27. Prices improved 43 cents (16.4%) from the low four weeks ago but fell back to $2.84 yesterday.

The demand for all petroleum products strengthened 5.1% y/y and gasoline demand increased 3.3% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products increased 8.2% y/y and gasoline inventories grew 4.1% 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 02/30/15 02/23/15 02/16/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.47 2.33 2.27 -28.9 3.36 3.51 3.62
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 49.53 51.79 51.14 -51.8 93.63 97.95 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.08 2.96 2.74 -41.0 4.37 3.73 2.7
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