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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Rose
by Sandy Batten  September 21, 2021

• Gasoline prices edged up to seven-year high.

• Crude oil prices increased by nearly $3 per barrel.

• Natural gas prices continued to soar, rising more than 11% w/w.

Retail gasoline prices edged up to $3.18 per gallon (+46.9% y/y) in the week ended September 20 from $3.17 per gallon in the previous week. This is the highest price since mid-October 2014. Gasoline prices have been generally rising from their recent 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 was unchanged last week at $3.11 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased to $71.65 per barrel (+81.2% y/y) in the week ended September 17 from $68.94 in the previous week. This was the third increase in the past four weeks but the price remains below the recent high of $74.04 in the first week of July. Yesterday, the price slipped to $70.29 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $74.72 per barrel (+78.9% y/y) from $72.13 per barrel. This was the fourth consecutive weekly increase. This price declined to $74.00 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices rose to $5.42/mmbtu (+180.8% y/y) in the week ended September 17 from $4.87/mmbtu in the previous week. Apart from the temporary spike in February 2021 (associated with unusually cold weather in Texas), this is the highest price since January 2018. The price has more than doubled since early April when it stood at $2.45/mmbtu. Yesterday, the price slipped to $5.25/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended September 10, gasoline demand increased 8.1% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 16.9% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 10.7% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 5.8% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 9.1% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending September 10 edged up to 23.2 days, but was just off its lowest level since November 2019. It remained down sharply from the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil increased to 27.5 days from 27.2 days in the previous week but remained well below the recent high of 41.8 days in the second week of March.

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 09/20/21 09/13/21 09/06/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.18 3.17 3.18 46.9 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 71.65 68.94 69.13 81.2 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 5.42 4.87 4.49 180.8 2.03 2.57 3.18
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