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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Decline While Natural Gas Prices Surge
by Tom Moeller  August 23, 2022

• Gasoline prices decline again.

• Crude oil prices also continue to fall.

• Natural gas prices strengthen further.

Retail gasoline prices fell to $3.88 per gallon (+23.4% y/y) last week after declining to $3.94 per gallon in the prior week. Prices have declined for ten consecutive weeks, down from a record $5.01 per gallon in the second week of June.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices fell to $90.17 per barrel (+38.6% y/y) last week after rising to $94.65 per barrel in the prior week. It was the lowest cost of crude oil since the first week of February and down from a peak $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $90.23 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil fell to $96.73 per barrel (+42.1% y/y) after rising to $104.54 per barrel in the prior week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $95.06 per barrel.

The price of natural gas rose sharply to $9.19/mmbtu (135.6% y/y) in the week of August 19 from $8.15/mmbtu in the previous week. It was the highest level since the third week of February 2021. Prices remained up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December. Yesterday, the price was $9.85/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended August 12, gasoline demand fell 4.2% y/y compared to 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products declined 3.2% y/y, off from 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased 1.4% y/y.

Gasoline inventories fell 5.5% y/y in the week of August 12 while crude oil inventories declined an accelerated 16.2% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended August 12 fell sharply to 23.8 days from 24.9 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil eased to 26.2 days and remained down from 41.8 days in early-March of last 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.

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