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Economy in Brief


U.S. Gasoline Prices Slip As Natural Gas Prices Surge
by Tom Moeller  February 4, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline prices edged down a penny last week to $3.29 (-7.0% y/y) last week and remained down versus the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. Haver Analytics constructs seasonal factors to account for seasonal volatility. The adjusted price also fell last week to $3.50 per gallon, down from $3.94 in February last year.

Extremely cold winter temperatures around the U.S. notably strengthened natural gas prices last week to $5.30 per mmbtu and were up by nearly two-thirds versus last year. Yesterday, prices retreated to $5.07 per mmbtu.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil increased to $97.28 (-0.2% y/y) last week but remained down sharply from the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices fell back to $96.43. Brent crude oil prices fell last week to $108.81 per barrel (-5.9% y/y) and yesterday slipped further to $107.14 per barrel.

The demand for all petroleum products increased 4.2% y/y last week. Gasoline demand gained 2.7% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, fell by 16.5% y/y but distillate demand improved 5.4% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 3.1% y/y.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy and can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and the petroleum demand and inventory figures are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 02/03/14 01/27/14 01/20/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.29 3.30 3.30 -7.0 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 97.28 96.31 92.98 -0.2 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 5.30 4.99 4.38 62.0 3.73 2.75 3.99
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