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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Ease; Other Energy Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  August 11, 2020

• Gasoline prices slip marginally.

• Crude oil prices improve.

• Natural gas prices touch eight-month high.

Regular gasoline prices fell to $2.17 per gallon (-17.5% y/y) in the week ended August 10, down one penny from the prior week. Prices have been fairly steady since late-June, remaining near the highest level since just prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns. The spot market price eased to $1.17 per gallon last week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for regular seasonal variation. Seasonally-adjusted prices rose two cents to $2.13 per gallon.

The price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rebounded to an average of $41.57 per barrel (-21.9% y/y) in the week ended August 7 after easing to $40.73 in the prior week. Prices remained below early-March when they touched $45.35 per barrel. Yesterday, the price was $41.94 per barrel. The price of Brent crude oil rose to $44.36 per barrel (-22.6% y/y) last week from $43.22 in the prior week. Yesterday, the price was $44.19 per barrel.

The average price of natural gas jumped to $2.13/mmbtu (0.9% y/y) in the week ended August 7 after rising to $1.82 in the previous week. It was the highest price since December of 2019. Yesterday, the price stood at $2.18/mmbtu, the highest price since December.

In the four weeks ending July 31, gasoline demand declined 9.1% y/y. Total petroleum product demand weakened 13.5% 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 a lessened 5.4% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.2% 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 08/10/20 08/03/20 07/27/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price, End of Period) 2.17 2.18 2.18 -17.5 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 41.57 40.73 41.36 -21.9 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.13 1.82 1.72 0.9 2.57 3.18 2.99
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