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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Continue to Improve
by Tom Moeller  December 20, 2016

Regular gasoline prices rose to $2.26 per gallon (11.7% y/y) last week, the highest level since early in October. Prices remained down, however, versus a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in these pump prices. The adjusted price rose sharply last week to $2.54 per gallon, the highest level since July of last year.

WTI crude oil prices increased to $51.91 per barrel last week. Prices were up to the highest level since July of last year. Yesterday, prices strengthened further to $52.12 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $54.86 per barrel last week, then rose to $54.94 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices backed off to $3.54/mmbtu last week, but have more than doubled y/y. It remained the highest price level since December 2014. Prices held at $3.52 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand declined 3.0% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products fell 2.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories increased 4.9% y/y, and inventories of all petroleum products increased 3.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries eased 1.3% y/y in 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 12/19/19 12/12/16 12/05/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.26 2.24 2.21 11.7 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 51.91 50.96 48.63 45.1 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 3.54 3.70 3.21 109.0 2.62 4.37 3.73
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