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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Are Mixed
by Tom Moeller  November 1, 2022

• Gasoline prices fall further.

• Crude oil prices improve from three-week low.

• The cost of natural gas declines again.

Retail gasoline prices fell last week to $3.74 per gallon (+ 10.4% y/y) after declining to $3.77 during the previous week. It was the third straight weekly decline and prices remained below the mid-June peak of $5.01 per gallon. The cost of diesel fuel eased to $5.32 per gallon (42.7% y/y) from $5.34 in the prior week.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil improved to an average $87.59 per barrel (4.5% y/y) in the week ended October 28 from $85.26 in the prior week. Prices reached a high of $120.46 per barrel in the second week of June. Yesterday, the price was $86.53 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $93.01 per barrel last week (10.6% y/y) from $90.59 in the prior week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $92.35 per barrel.

The price of natural gas slipped last week to $5.12/mmbtu (-9.9% y/y) from $5.48/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, 2021. Yesterday, the price was $5.02/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended October 21, gasoline demand declined 5.9% from a year earlier after falling 6.4% 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 1.9% 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 2.9% y/y.

Gasoline inventories fell 3.6% y/y in the week of October 21, while crude oil inventories declined 19.5% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended October 21 eased to 23.5 days from 23.8 days in the prior week. The supply of crude oil improved to 28.1 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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