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Economy in Brief

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

• Gasoline prices rise.

• Crude oil prices continue to fall.

• Natural gas prices decline again.

Retail gasoline prices increased last week to $3.78 per gallon (+18.6% y/y) from $3.71 during the week before. It was the second increase since the third week of September when the price hit a low of $3.65 per gallon. Prices remained below the mid-June peak of $5.01 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slid to an average $79.79 per barrel (+6.5% y/y) in the week ended September 30. Prices fell from $83.27 in the prior week and are down from a high of $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price rose to $83.63 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil weakened to $86.87 per barrel last week (+10.7% y/y) after falling to $88.54 in the previous week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price moved up to $90.68 per barrel.

The price of natural gas also weakened last week to $6.63/mmbtu (+16.7% y/y) from $7.69/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices peaked at $9.56/mmbtu in the last week of August. They remained up from a low of $3.56/mmbtu in the last week of December. Yesterday, the price weakened further to $5.64/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended September 23, gasoline demand declined 6.6% from a year earlier after falling 7.7% y/y during the prior four weeks. These declines compare to 15.2% y/y growth at the end of last year. Demand for all petroleum products fell 3.1% y/y in the latest four weeks in contrast to the 14.4% growth at the end of 2021. Crude oil input to refineries increased 7.7% y/y, the quickest growth since early April.

Gasoline inventories fell 4.3% y/y in the week of September 23, while crude oil inventories declined 17.7% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended September 16 fell to 24.7 days from 25.1 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil was steady with the previous week at 26.9 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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