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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  September 20, 2022

• Gasoline prices fall further.

• Crude oil prices rebound.

• Natural gas prices improve slightly.

Retail gasoline prices fell to $3.65 per gallon (+14.8% y/y) last week after declining to $3.69 per gallon in the prior week. Prices were at the lowest level since the last week of February and have weakened steadily from a record $5.01 per gallon in the second week of June.

West Texas Intermediate prices rose to $86.94 per barrel (21.3% y/y) in the week ended September 16. During the prior week, prices had fallen to $85.03 from $90.59 in the week ended September 2. These prices are down from a high of $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $85.73 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $91.41 per barrel (23.3% y/y) after falling to $90.43 in the previous week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $90.41 per barrel.

The price of natural gas rose to $8.42/mmbtu (55.4% y/y) in the week of September 16 from $8.31/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices peaked at $9.56/mmbtu in the last week of August but remained up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December. Yesterday, the price was $7.96/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended September 9, gasoline demand fell 9.0% y/y compared to 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products weakened 7.0% y/y, off from 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased 6.2% y/y, the quickest growth since early April.

Gasoline inventories fell 2.3% y/y in the week of September 9, while crude oil inventories declined 16.8% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended September 9 rose to 24.9 days from 24.5 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil rose to 26.7 days from 26.4 days one week earlier but 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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