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Economy in Brief

Weekly U.S. Energy Prices Mixed
by Sandy Batten  September 28, 2021

• Gasoline prices unchanged at a seven-year high.

• Crude oil prices continued to rise.

• Natural gas prices fell for the first time in five weeks.

Retail gasoline prices were unchanged at $3.18 per gallon (+46.4% y/y) in the week ended September 27 from 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 edged down to $3.10 per gallon from $3.11 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased to $72.09 per barrel (+81.0% y/y) in the week ended September 24 from $71.68 per barrel in the previous week. This was the fourth increase in the past five weeks but the price remains below the recent high of $74.04 in the first week of July. Yesterday, the price jumped up to $75.45 per barrel, its highest daily close since late 2014. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $75.94 per barrel (+82.1% y/y) from $74.72 per barrel in the prior week. This was the fifth consecutive weekly increase. This price rose to $79.29 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell to $5.03/mmbtu (+199.4% y/y) in the week ended September 24 from $5.42/mmbtu in the previous week. This was the first weekly decrease in the past five weeks. The price has more than doubled since early April when it stood at $2.45/mmbtu. Yesterday, the price rose markedly to $5.53/mmbtu, its highest in nearly two weeks.

In the four weeks ended September 17, gasoline demand increased 8.2% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 17.9% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 12.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 2.6% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 9.3% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending September 17 rose to 24.0 days from 23.2 days in the previous week. It remained down sharply from the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil edged up to 27.6 days from 27.5 days in the previous week, its third consecutive weekly increase, 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 09/27/21 09/20/21 09/13/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.18 3.18 3.17 46.4 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 72.09 71.68 68.94 81.0 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 5.03 5.42 4.87 199.4 2.03 2.57 3.18
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