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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Continue to Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  June 9, 2020

• Gasoline prices exhibit seasonal strength.

• Crude oil prices continue to rise as production is curtailed.

• Natural gas prices fall further due to oversupply.

As more people took to the road with the spring weather, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $2.04 per gallon (-25.5% y/y) in the week ended June 8 from $1.97 per gallon in the previous week. The gain also was fueled by an easing of lockdowns in the U.S. It was the sixth consecutive week of increase and left prices at the highest level since late-March. The spot market price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline rose to $1.00 per gallon (-39.2% y/y) in the week ended June 2 from 97 cents in the prior week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. The seasonally-adjusted price rose this past week from $1.84 to $1.91 per gallon, also the highest level in two months.

The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil strengthened to an average $37.32 per barrel (-29.5% y/y) in the week ended June 5 from $34.20 in the prior week, as OPEC continued to restrain crude oil production. Yesterday, the price was $38.19 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil increased to $38.37 per barrel (-39.2% y/y). Yesterday, the price increased to $39.66 per barrel.

The average price of natural gas fell to $1.70/mmbtu (-30.6% y/y) in the week ended June 5 from $1.77 during the prior week. The price remained below the $4.67/mmbtu late in November 2018. Yesterday, the price eased further to $1.68/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ending May 29, gasoline demand fell 22.7% y/y, while total petroleum product demand fell 19.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 23.0% y/y in the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories rose 10.1% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 6.7% y/y.

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 06/08/20 06/01/20 05/25/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.04 1.97 1.96 -25.5 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 37.32 34.20 33.01 -29.5 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.70 1.77 1.78 -30.6 2.57 3.18 2.99
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