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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Fall; Crude Oil Costs Rise
by Tom Moeller  December 11, 2018

Gasoline prices declined to an average $2.42 per gallon (-2.6% y/y) from $2.45 during last week. Prices have fallen from an average high of $2.90 early last month to the lowest level since August 2017. Haver Analytics constructs factors to adjust for the marked seasonal variation in prices. The seasonally-adjusted gasoline price fell two cents last week to $2.55 per gallon.

The recent decline in crude oil prices stabilized last week as West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices rose to an average of $52.64 per barrel (-7.6% y/y) after falling to $51.09 in the prior week. Prices have declined steadily since the peak of $75.11 in early-October. Yesterday, prices were 51.00 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices rose last week to an average $61.47 per barrel (-1.5% y/y) from $59.77 during the prior week. Yesterday, prices returned to $59.77 per barrel.

Natural gas prices held steady last week at an average $4.44/mmbtu (+56.3% y/y). Prices are up from a low of $2.52 last February. The price was $4.54 yesterday.

During the latest four weeks, gasoline demand improved 0.2% y/y; total petroleum product demand rose 7.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 2.4% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products eased 0.9% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries has risen 1.0% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 12/10/18 12/03/18 11/26/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price) 2.42 2.45 2.54 -2.6 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 52.64 51.09 55.06 -7.6 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.44 4.43 4.67 56.3 2.96 2.49 2.62
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