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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Slipped while Crude and Nat Gas Prices Rose
by Sandy Batten  December 28, 2021

• Gasoline prices slipped two cents per gallon for seventh consecutive weekly decline.

• Crude oil prices rose to highest level in four weeks.

• Natural gas prices increased for second week.

Retail gasoline prices fell to $3.28 per gallon (+46.0% y/y) in the week ended December 27 from $3.30 per gallon in the previous week. This was the seventh consecutive weekly decline, pushing the price down to its lowest since the week ended October 11. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price fell to $3.52 per gallon from $3.56 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 0.6% w/w to (+49.8% y/y) to $71.59 per barrel in the week ended December 24, its highest level in four weeks, from $71.19 per barrel in the previous week. Yesterday, the price increased to $75.57 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose 1.2% w/w (+46.1% y/y) to $74.80 per barrel from $73.94 per barrel in the prior week. The price was $78.50 per barrel yesterday.

The price of natural gas rose 1.6% w/w to $3.85/mmbtu (+41.5% y/y) in the week ended December 24 from $3.79/mmbtu in the previous week. The price remained down from its recent high of $5.87/mmbtu reached in the second week of October. Yesterday, the price slipped to $3.56/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended December 17, gasoline demand increased 14.7% y/y, down from the 15.4% yearly rise in the previous week. Growth in demand for all petroleum products slowed to 11.0% y/y from 12.6% in the previous week. Crude oil input to refineries rose 11.0% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 5.7% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 10.3% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending December 17 edged up to 24.8 days from 23.9 days in the previous week but remained well below the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil edged down to 26.9 days, the lowest since late August, from 27.3 days in the previous week.

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 12/27/21 12/20/21 12/13/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.28 3.30 3.32 46.0 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 71.59 71.19 71.31 49.8 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.85 3.79 3.67 41.5 2.03 2.57 3.18
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