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Economy in Brief

Energy Prices Continue to Rise
by Sandy Batten  December 22, 2020

• Gasoline prices rose to highest since mid-March.

• Crude oil prices rise again to highest level since February.

• Natural gas prices rebound.

The price of regular gasoline was rose to $2.22 per gallon (-12.2% y/y) in the week ended December 21 from $2.16 per gallon in the previous week. This was the highest price since mid-March. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price jumped up ten cents to $2.40 per gallon last week, its highest level since mid-March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil price increased to an average of $47.98 per barrel (-21.0% y/y) in the week ended December 18 from $46.05 per barrel in the previous week. This was the highest price since the last week of February. The price was $47.74 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $51.15 per barrel (-22.5% y/y) last week from $49.35 per barrel in the previous week. It increased to $52.34 yesterday.

The price of natural gas rebounded to $2.70/mmbtu (+18.4% y/y) in the week ended December 18 from $2.44/mmbtu (+8.9% y/y) in the previous week. Prices have been generally moving up from $1.52/mmbtu since the third week of June. The price was $2.68/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended December 11, gasoline demand declined 13.3% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 8.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 14.2% y/y over the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories edged up 0.7% y/y and inventories of all petroleum products rose 5.0% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in the week ended December 11 was 30.2 days, the highest since late June.

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 12/21/20 12/14/20 12/07/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.22 2.16 2.16 -12.2 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 47.98 46.05 45.38 -21.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.70 2.44 2.69 18.4 2.57 3.18 2.99
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