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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Recapture December High; Crude Oil Surges As Well
by Tom Moeller  May 19, 2015

Gasoline prices rose 5 cents last week to an average $2.74 per gallon at the pump (-25.1% y/y), the highest level since early-December, up roughly one-third 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 $2.60 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices rose to an average $2.01 per gallon (-29.8% y/y).

Higher WTI crude oil costs are helping to drive the gasoline price increase. During the latest week, crude oil prices rose to an average $60.00 per barrel (-41.1% y/y), up from the March low of $44.39. This remained the most expensive since the second week of December. Yesterday, prices slipped to $59.43 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 high of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, rose last week to $59.29 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices slipped eleven cents last week to $64.90 per barrel.

Natural gas prices improved to $2.88 per mmbtu last week (-35.0% y/y) and rose further to $3.01 yesterday.

Ample gasoline supplies continue to weigh on prices. Gasoline inventories grew 6.7% y/y while inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.8% y/y. Gasoline demand increased 3.0% y/y while demand for all petroleum products rose 3.6% 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 05/18/15 05/11/15 05/04/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.74 2.69 2.66 -25.1 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 60.00 59.73 57.98 -41.1 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.88 2.76 2.56 -35.0 4.37 3.73 2.7
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