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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  October 18, 2022

• Gasoline prices ease.

• Crude oil prices increase slightly.

• The cost of natural gas climbs.

Retail gasoline prices fell last week to $3.87 per gallon (+16.5% y/y) from $3.91 during the previous week. Prices remained below the mid-June peak of $5.01 per gallon. The cost of diesel fuel rose to $5.34 per gallon (45.4% y/y) from $5.22 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil edged higher to an average $88.67 per barrel (9.2% y/y) in the week ended October 14 from $88.04 in the prior week. Prices previous hit a high of $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $85.46 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil eased to $94.62 per barrel last week (12.8% y/y) after rising to $94.66 in the week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $91.04 per barrel.

The price of natural gas rose last week to $6.29/mmbtu (13.5% y/y) from $6.01/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 was $6.08/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended October 7, gasoline demand declined 5.5% from a year earlier after falling 4.1 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 3.8% 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 3.5% y/y.

Gasoline inventories fell 6.1% y/y in the week of October 7, while crude oil inventories declined 18.8% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended October 7 edged higher to 24.0 days from 23.6 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil rose to 27.6 days 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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