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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Remain Elevated
by Tom Moeller  October 19, 2021

• Gasoline prices increase further.

• The cost of crude oil continues to rise.

• Natural gas prices move lower.

Retail gasoline prices rose 1.7% (54.5% y/y) to $3.32 per gallon in the week ended October 18 from $3.27 per gallon in the previous week. The gain pulled prices to the highest level since September 2014. Gasoline prices have risen from their low of $1.77 per gallon in April 2020. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose to $3.28 per gallon from $3.20 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased 3.5% (101.0% y/y) to $81.20 per barrel in the week ended October 15 from $78.43 per barrel in the previous week. It was the highest level since October 2014. Prices have roughly doubled since September 2020. Yesterday, the price rose to $82.44 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $83.82 per barrel last week (96.4% y/y) from $81.91 per barrel in the prior week. The price rose to $84.23 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices fell 5.1% to $5.57/mmbtu (+156.7% y/y) in the week ended October 15 and reversed the prior week's rise to $5.87/mmbtu. Prices remained up from $2.63/mmbtu averaged this past March. Yesterday, the price eased to $5.01/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended October 8, gasoline demand increased 6.9% y/y and demand for all petroleum products rose 12.5% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 13.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 0.9% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 7.6% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending October 8 fell to 24.2 days from 24.6 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 was little changed at 27.7 days, remaining 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 10/18/21 10/11/21 10/04/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.32 3.27 3.19 54.5 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 81.20 78.43 74.95 101.0 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 5.57 5.87 5.68 156.7 2.03 2.57 3.18
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