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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Product Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  August 4, 2020

• Gasoline prices hold steady.

• Crude oil prices ease.

• Natural gas prices rebound.

Regular gasoline prices were unchanged at  $2.18 per gallon (-19.0% y/y) in the week ended August 3. Prices remained near the highest level since just prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns. The spot market price rose slightly to $1.24 per gallon last week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. Seasonally-adjusted prices were $2.11 per gallon for the third straight week.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to an average of $40.76 per barrel (-28.0% y/y) in the week ended July 31 from $41.36 in the prior week. Prices remained below early-March when prices touched $45.35 per barrel. Yesterday, the price was $41.01 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil eased to $43.19 per barrel (-31.0% y/y) from $43.57. Yesterday, the price was $43.76 per barrel.

The average price of natural gas improved to $1.82/mmbtu (-18.9% y/y) in the week ended July 31 after falling to $1.72 in the previous week. Prices remained below the $4.67/mmbtu peak in late-November 2018. Yesterday, the price strengthened again to $1.95/mmbtu, the highest price since early-March.

In the four weeks ending July 24, gasoline demand declined 9.0% y/y. Total petroleum product demand weakened 13.0% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries declined 16.4% y/y in the past four weeks, but it has risen sharply since mid-May. Gasoline inventories rose 7.2% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.9% 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 08/03/20 07/27/20 07/20/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.18 2.18 2.19 -19.0 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 40.76 41.36 40.57 -28.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 1.82 1.72 1.77 -18.9 2.57 3.18 2.99
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