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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  January 5, 2021

• Gasoline prices improve slightly.

• Crude oil prices edge higher.

• Natural gas prices decline again.

The price of regular gasoline rose to $2.25 per gallon (-12.8% y/y) in the week ended January 4 from $2.24 per gallon in the previous week. It was the highest price since mid-March. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose to $2.42 per gallon last week, also its highest level since mid-March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices improved to an average of $48.07 per barrel (-22.2% y/y) in the week ended January 1 and recovered the prior week's easing to $47.79 per barrel. The price was $47.62 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil improved to $51.34 per barrel (-23.0% y/y) last week from $51.19 per barrel in the previous week. The price was $50.97 yesterday.

The price of natural gas fell to $2.39/mmbtu (+15.5% y/y) in the week ended January 1 after easing to $2.67/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices remained up versus $1.52/mmbtu in the third week of June. The price rebounded to $2.60/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended December 25, gasoline demand declined 13.2% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 6.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries weakened 15.6% y/y over the past year. Gasoline inventories fell 2.4% y/y but inventories of all petroleum products rose 4.4% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in the week ended December 25 was 29.8 days, up from a recent low of 26.5 days during October.

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 01/04/21 12/28/20 12/21/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.25 2.24 2.22 -12.8 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 48.07 47.79 47.96 -22.2 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.39 2.67 2.70 15.5 2.57 3.18 2.99
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