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Economy in Brief

Weekly U.S. Energy Prices Rise
by Sandy Batten  October 5, 2021

• Gasoline prices edged up to a seven-year high.

• Crude oil prices continued to rise.

• Natural gas prices rebounded sharply.

Retail gasoline prices edged up to $3.19 per gallon (+46.9% y/y) in the week ended October 4 from $3.18 per gallon in the previous week. This is the highest price since mid-October 2014. Gasoline prices have generally risen 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 up to $3.11 per gallon from $3.10 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased nearly 4% w/w to $74.92 per barrel (+91.8% y/y) in the week ended October 1, the highest price since early October 2018, from $72.13 per barrel in the previous week. This was the fifth increase in the past six weeks. Yesterday, the price jumped up to $77.62 per barrel, its highest daily close since November 2014. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $78.74 per barrel (+91.2% y/y) from $75.94 per barrel in the prior week. This was the sixth consecutive weekly increase. This price rose to $81.34 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices rebounded, jumping up 12.9% w/w to $5.68/mmbtu (+244.2% y/y) in the week ended October 1 from $5.03/mmbtu in the previous week. Apart from the temporary spike in February 2021 from 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.

In the four weeks ended September 24, gasoline demand increased 8.5% y/y and demand for all petroleum products slowed to a 13.7% y/y gain. Crude oil input to refineries rose 11.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 2.8% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 8.7% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending September 24 edged up to 24.1 days from 24.0 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 rose to 28.2 days from 27.6 days in the previous week, its fourth 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 10/04/21 09/27/21 09/20/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.19 3.18 3.18 46.9 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 74.92 72.13 71.68 91.8 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 5.68 5.03 5.42 244.2 2.03 2.57 3.18
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