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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  January 4, 2022

• Gasoline prices hold steady.

• Crude oil prices continue to strengthen.

• Natural gas prices reverse two weekly increases.

Retail gasoline prices held at $3.28 per gallon (+45.9% y/y) in the week ended January 3 after falling to that level in the previous week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price edged higher to $3.41 per gallon from $3.40 per gallon in the previous week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 6.2% last week (58.2% y/y) to $76.05 per barrel in the week ended December 31. It was the highest price in five weeks after falling to $66.90 in the first week of December. Yesterday, the price was $76.08 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose 5.3% (53.4% y/y) to $78.73 per barrel from $74.80 per barrel in the prior week. The price was $78.97 per barrel yesterday.

The price of natural gas fell 11.9% to $3.39/mmbtu (+42.4% y/y) in the week ended December 31 from $3.85/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 increased to $3.74/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended December 24, gasoline demand increased 17.1% y/y. Demand for all petroleum products grew 12.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries rose 10.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 5.9% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 10.3% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending December 24 fell to 24.0 days from 24.8 days in the previous week and remained well below the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil fell to 26.7 days, the lowest level since late August.

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 01/03/22 12/27/21 12/20/21 Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.28 3.28 3.30 45.9 3.28 2.24 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 76.05 71.59 71.19 58.2 67.74 39.43 56.91
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.39 3.85 3.79 42.4 3.89 2.03 2.57
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