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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Oil Prices Fall Further
by Tom Moeller  March 17, 2020

Less travel helped lower retail gasoline prices to $2.25 per gallon (-11.8% y/y) in the week ended March 16 versus $2.38 per gallon in the previous week. Prices remained below an early-May peak of $2.90 per gallon. Haver Analytics adjusts prices for seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted gasoline price fell to $2.30 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil remains under pressure as the coronavirus reduces demand. It declined to $28.70 per barrel yesterday after falling to an average $32.35 (-44.0% y/y) last week. Prices have fallen from $61.75 averaged in the first week of January. The price of Brent crude oil weakened to $30.10 per barrel yesterday from an average of $34.97 last week, down from $50.04 in the prior week.

The average price of natural gas improved to $1.87/mmbtu (-35.2% y/y) last week from $1.80 in the prior week. The price rose to $1.89/mmbtu yesterday but remained below the peak of $2.81/mmbtu early in November.

In the four weeks ending March 6, gasoline demand increased 1.7% y/y, while total petroleum product demand declined 1.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories increased 0.4% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 1.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries held steady y/y in the past 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 03/16/20 03/09/20 03/02/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.25 2.38 2.42 -11.8 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 32.35 45.55 48.34 -44.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.87 1.80 1.90 -35.2 2.57 3.18 2.99
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