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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 24, 2021

• Price of gasoline slips.

• Crude oil prices weaken further.

• Natural gas prices fall again.

Retail gasoline prices fell last week to $3.15 per gallon (+44.1% y/y) in the week ended August 23 from $3.17 in the previous week. Prices remained near the highest level since October 2014, up 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 $65.08 per barrel (+52.3% y/y) in the week ended August 20 from $68.32 per barrel in the previous week. Prices have fallen from the high of $74.04 in the first week of July. Yesterday, they rose to $65.64 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil fell to $67.66 per barrel (+50.5% y/y) from $70.55 per barrel in the previous week. Prices have weakened from $75.30 at the end of June. They strengthened to $68.67 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices also have been moving lower. The decline to $3.90/mmbtu (+63.2 y/y) in the week ended August 20 followed the prior week's fall to $4.10/mmbtu. The price reached a high of $4.15/mmbtu at the beginning of this month. The price edged up to $3.93/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended August 13, gasoline demand increased 8.4% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 13.2% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 9.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 6.4% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 9.2% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending August 13 held steady at 24.1 days, remaining near their lowest level 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 08/23/21 08/16/21 08/09/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.15 3.17 3.17 44.1 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 65.08 68.32 69.49 52.3 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.90 4.10 4.15 63.2 2.03 2.57 3.18
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