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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Natural Gas Prices Ease as Crude Oil Costs Rise
by Tom Moeller  December 17, 2019

In the week ended December 16, retail gasoline prices edged down to $2.54 per gallon (+7.0% y/y) from $2.56 per gallon in the previous week. Typically, gasoline prices weaken at this time of year so Haver Analytics adjusts prices for seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted gasoline price improved to $2.70 per gallon, the highest price since the third week of May.

In the week ended December 13, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices strengthened to a average of $59.24 (14.9% y/y) per barrel from $57.64 in the previous week. It was the highest price since the third week of September. Yesterday, the price was $60.21. Brent crude oil prices also rose to an average of $64.39 (6.7% y/y) per barrel after easing to $62.12 the previous week. They rose yesterday to $65.35 yesterday.

The weekly average price of natural gas prices declined for the fifth consecutive week to $2.23/mmbtu (-49.0% y/y) in the week ended December 13 from an average of $2.37/mmbtu in the previous week. Yesterday, the price rose to $2.34/mmbtu.

In the four-weeks ending December 6, gasoline demand increased 0.1% y/y but total petroleum product demand declined 2.4% y/y. Gasoline inventories gained 2.8% y/y while inventories of all petroleum products rose 1.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 4.6% 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 12/16/19 12/09/19 12/02/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.54 2.56 2.58 7.0 2.27 2.47 2.31
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 59.24 57.64 57.33 14.9 64.95 50.87 43.22
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.23 2.37 2.49 -49.0 3.18 2.99 2.51
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