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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Price Gains Pause
by Tom Moeller  August 17, 2021

• Price of gasoline holds steady.

• Crude oil prices decline again.

• Natural gas prices ease.

Retail gasoline prices held steady last week at $3.17 per gallon (46.5% y/y) in the week ended August 16. Prices remained the highest level since October 2014. They have strengthened from the 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 $3.12 per gallon from $3.11 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell to $68.33 per barrel (+62.3% y/y) in the week ended August 13 from $69.49 per barrel in the previous week. Yesterday, the price was $67.29 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil fell to $70.55 per barrel (56.8% y/y) from $71.47 per barrel in the previous week. The price was $69.61 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices eased last week following four consecutive weeks of increase. The decline to $4.10/mmbtu (+88.9% y/y) in the week ended August 13 followed the prior week's increase to $4.15/mmbtu. The price fell to $3.93/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended August 6, gasoline demand increased 8.5% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 11.3% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 10.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 7.9% y/y in the week ended August 6, while crude oil inventories declined 9.2% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending August 6 eased to 24.1 days, remaining near their lowest since November 2019 and 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 08/16/21 08/09/21 08/02/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.17 3.17 3.16 46.5 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 68.33 69.49 72.75 62.3 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.10 4.15 4.06 88.9 2.03 2.57 3.18
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