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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Stabilize; Crude Oil Slips
by Tom Moeller  November 23, 2021

• Gasoline prices are steady for fourth week.

• Crude oil prices decline.

• Natural gas prices weaken.

Retail gasoline prices held at $3.40 per gallon (+61.5% y/y) in the week ended November 22, about where they've been since the end of October. Prices remained, however, at the highest level since September 2014 and almost double 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 continued to trend higher to $3.51 per gallon from $3.45 per gallon in the previous week. Typically, gasoline prices decline this time of year.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 3.6% (+90.0% y/y) to $79.02 per barrel in the week ended November 19 from $81.98 per barrel in the previous week. It was the lowest price since the second week of October. Yesterday, the price fell further to $76.75 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil declined to $80.97 per barrel last week (+82.8% y/y) from $83.17 per barrel in the prior week. The price was $79.66 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices declined 1.6% (+105.4% y/y) to $4.91/mmbtu in the week ended November 19 after easing to $4.99/mmbtu (revised from $5.10) in the prior week. It was the lowest price since the second week of September, down from its $5.87/mmbtu high. Yesterday, the price was $4.83/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended November 12, gasoline demand increased 10.1% y/y, up from 6.4% y/y growth early in October. Demand for all petroleum products rose 3.9% y/y in the latest week. Crude oil input to refineries rose a steady 12.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 7.0% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 7.9% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending November 12 of 22.7 days and remained down sharply from the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil edged lower to 28.5 days and remained 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 11/22/21 11/15/21 11/08/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.40 3.40 3.41 61.5 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 79.02 81.98 81.78 90.0 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 4.91 4.99 5.48 105.4 2.03 2.57 3.18
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