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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Slip But Crude Oil Prices Rise
by Tom Moeller June 15, 2010

U.S. gasoline prices slipped again last week. The pump price of regular gasoline of $2.70 per gallon prices was down three cents w/w but that still left prices up more than three-quarters since the December 2008 low. Continuing the earlier reversal, the spot market price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose yesterday to $2.02 which was the highest level in four weeks. The figures are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY & DAILY databases.

Also moving up was the average price for a barrel of light sweet crude (WTI) to $73.41 last week. Nevertheless the price remained down from the high of $84.23 averaged during April. Yesterday crude prices moved higher to $75.12 per barrel, up from the May 24th low of $66.88.

U.S. natural gas prices also have strengthened recently to an average $4.75 per mmbtu (33.4% y/y), the highest level since early-March. Nevertheless, prices remained down from a high of $6.50 early in January.

Demand for gasoline fell 1.0% last week versus one year ago and that compares to a 2.0% increase last month. The demand for residual fuel oil increased 4.8% while distillate demand surged 12.1% y/y. That's improved from a 12.3% decline during February. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped in early June but still were up sharply from the early-2010 low.

The energy price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database while the daily figures are in DAILY. The gasoline demand figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Prices 06/14/10 06/07/10 05/31/10 y/y 2009 2008 2007
Retail Regular Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.70 2.73 2.73 1.1% 2.35 3.25 2.80
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI  ($ per bbl.) 73.41 72.89 71.13 3.6% 61.39 100.16 72.25
Natural Gas Price ($/mmbtu) 4.75 4.46 4.18 33.6% 3.95 8.88 6.97
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