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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Weaken
by Tom Moeller  November 15, 2022

• Gasoline prices fall.

• Crude oil costs ease.

• Natural gas prices decline again.

Retail gasoline prices fell last week to $3.76 per gallon (+10.7% y/y) after rising to $3.80 per gallon during the previous week. Prices remained below the mid-June peak of $5.01 per gallon. The retail cost of diesel fuel slipped two cents (+42.3% y/y) last week to $5.31 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped to an average $88.37 per barrel (+7.8% y/y) in the week ended November 11 from $89.13 in the prior week. Prices hit a low of $79.87 per barrel at the end of June. Yesterday, the price was $85.87 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil edged up to $95.45 per barrel last week (14.8% y/y) from $95.22 in the prior week. The price peaked at $127.40 in mid-June. Yesterday, the price was $93.30 per barrel.

The price of natural gas eased last week to $4.22/mmbtu (-15.4% y/y) from $4.56/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 jumped to $6.24/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended November 4, gasoline demand declined 6.5% from a year earlier after falling 8.2% 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 rose 2.6% 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 4.1% y/y.

Gasoline inventories fell 3.3% y/y in the week of November 4, while crude oil inventories declined 19.9% y/y.

Measured in days' supply, gasoline inventories in the week ended November 4 fell to 23.3 days and has been declining steadily from 29.2 days since early-February. The supply of crude oil held steady at 28.0 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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