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Economy in Brief

U.S. Crude Oil & Natural Gas Prices Rise While Gasoline Prices Ease
by Carol Stone, CBE  April 19, 2022

• Crude oil price up $2.31 per barrel.

• Gasoline prices edge lower again after mid-March record high.

• Natural gas prices continue to rise.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil increased to $101.49 per barrel (+63.9% y/y) in the week ended April 15 from $99.18 per barrel the week before. These compare to a high of $113.33 averaged in the fourth week of March. Yesterday, the price rose to $108.21 per barrel, the highest since March 25. The average price of Brent crude oil was $106.27 per barrel in the April 15 week (+$62.5%), up from $103.73 the prior week. The price was $114.35 per barrel yesterday.

Retail gasoline prices declined somewhat to $4.066 per gallon in the week ended April 18 (+42.4% y/y) from $4.091 per gallon the week before. Prices set a record $4.315 per gallon in the second week of March. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation, and the seasonally adjusted price was $4.139 per gallon from $4.157 in the prior week.

The price of natural gas strengthened again in the April 15 week; it rose to $6.54/mmbtu (152.5% y/y) after rising to $6.08 in the previous week. The price has risen from a low of $1.52/mmbtu averaged in the third week of June 2020. Yesterday, the price bounced up to $7.48/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended April 8, gasoline demand was down 2.3% y/y. Demand had risen 15.2% y/y in late-December 2021. Growth in demand for all petroleum products was up just 1.3% y/y in the latest reported four-week period, the smallest y/y increase since late March 2021. Growth in crude oil input to refineries was 6.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories decreased 0.7% y/y a weakened 0.9% y/y while crude oil inventories declined 13.0% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ended April 8 was 27.1 days, down slightly from 27.3 days the week before. The supply of crude oil rose to 26.7 days from 26.0 days in the April 1 week and was equal to the average for the 13 weeks so far this year.

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 04/18/22 04/11/22 04/04/22 Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 4.07 4.09 4.17 42.4 3.28 2.24 2.57
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 101.49 99.18 103.84 63.9 67.74 39.43 56.91
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 6.54 6.08 5.41 152.5 3.89 2.03 2.57
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