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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Add To Recent Increases
by Tom Moeller  April 28, 2015

Last week, gasoline prices increased to an average $2.57 cents per gallon at the pump, the highest level since early-December and up by one-quarter versus the late-January low of $2.04. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price rose last week to $2.47 per gallon. Spot-market gasoline prices rose to an average $1.89 per gallon from an early-January low of $1.28.

>Higher crude oil costs are helping to generate the gasoline price increase. During the week ended April 24, WTI crude oil prices rose to an average $56.60 per barrel (-44.6% y/y), up from last month's low of $44.39. This was the most expensive since the second week of December. Yesterday, prices were stable at $56.99 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, gained last week to $55.71 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $61.41 per barrel last week (-43.8% y/y) and were $62.86 yesterday.

Natural gas prices held at $2.56 (-46.1% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended April 24 and slipped to $2.48 yesterday.

Gasoline demand picked up momentum and jumped 4.0% y/y as of mid-month. Needs have surged during the last four weeks. Demand for all petroleum products rose 5.2% y/y but has slackened sharply this year due to weakness in distillate demand. Gasoline inventories grew 7.5% y/y, but they have fallen sharply during the last two months. Inventories of all petroleum products increased 9.3% y/y and their level continues to surge.

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.

Plunging Oil Prices: A Boost for the U.S. Economy, a Jolt for Texas from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 04/27/15 04/20/15 04/13/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.57 2.49 2.41 -30.8 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 56.60 54.78 51.78 -44.6 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.56 2.58 2.63 -46.1 4.37 3.73 2.7
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