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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Increase Again
by Tom Moeller  March 22, 2016

Regular gasoline prices rose, on average, last week to $2.01 per gallon (-18.3% y/y) from $1.96 in the prior week. It was the highest price since mid-January, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price also rose to $2.01 per gallon. The N.Y. spot market gasoline price rose to $1.15 per gallon, up 7 cents from the February low.

WTI crude oil costs increased slightly to $38.32 per barrel last week (-13.7% y/y) from $37.84 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices jumped to $39.91 per barrel. Prices remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices eased w/w to $40.27 per barrel, but recovered to $41.67 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas increased last week to $1.77 per mmbtu (-36.2% y/y), and were $1.76 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 6.4% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 1.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 8.5% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 3.8% 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 03/21/16 03/14/16 03/07/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.01 1.96 1.84 -18.3 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 38.32 37.84 34.45 -13.7 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.61 1.57 -41.4 2.62 4.37 3.7
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