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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Improve While Crude Oil Costs Continue Lower
by Tom Moeller  August 18, 2015

Gasoline prices at the pump rose to an average $2.72 per gallon (-21.8% y/y) last week, the first increase since early last month. Prices nevertheless remained near the lowest level since early-May. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price improved roughly 10 cents to $2.60 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices edged higher w/w to $1.76 per gallon (-34.6% y/y).

WTI crude oil costs extended their decline last week and fell to an average $43.22 per barrel (-55.5% y/y), down from June's high of $60.07. Yesterday, prices fell further to $41.87 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 high of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, eased last week to $41.06 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices edged up w/w to $49.56 per barrel and were $47.77 yesterday.

Natural gas prices increased last week to $2.87 per mmbtu (-25.8% y/y) and were $2.76 yesterday.

Gasoline demand rose 6.6% y/y while demand for all petroleum products rose 3.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories improved 1.3% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.9% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) grew 3.0% y/y during the last four weeks.

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 08/17/15 08/10/15 08/03/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.72 2.63 2.69 -21.8 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 43.22 44.94 47.91 -55.5 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.87 2.80 2.85 -25.8 4.37 3.73 2.7
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