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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  August 3, 2021

• Price of gasoline increases to new high.

• Crude oil prices rebound.

• Natural gas costs continue to rise.

Retail gasoline prices increased to $3.16 per gallon (45.2% y/y) in the week ended August 2 from $3.14 per gallon in the previous week, putting them at the highest level since October 2014. They have strengthened significantly from their pandemic-related low of $1.77 per gallon at the end of April 2020. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose last week to $3.06 per gallon from $3.03 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose to $72.76 per barrel (78.6% y/y) in the week ended July 30 from $69.64 per barrel in the previous week. The increase followed three consecutive weekly declines. Yesterday, the price was $71.26 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rebounded to $74.68 per barrel (72.2% y/y) from $71.52 per barrel in the previous week. The price was $72.81 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices were up for the third consecutive week, rising to $4.06/mmbtu (+123.1% y/y) in the week ended July 30 from $3.93/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices have risen from their June 2020 low of $1.52/mmbtu. The price was $4.02/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended July 23, gasoline demand increased 9.1% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 12.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 11.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 5.3% y/y in the week ended July 23, while crude oil inventories declined 10.6% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending July 23 eased to 24.7 days, remaining near the lowest since November 2019. That was down sharply from the high of 32.9 days in the third week of February.

These data are reported by the Energy Information Administration of 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 are in USENERGY.

Weekly Energy Prices 08/02/21 07/26/21 07/19/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.16 3.14 3.15 45.2 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 72.76 69.64 73.20 78.6 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.06 3.93 3.73 123.1 2.03 2.57 3.18
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