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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Move Up but Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices Decline
by Tom Moeller  March 18, 2014

Energy prices were mixed last week. The price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $3.55 (-40% y/y) last week, up 35 cents from the January low. Nevertheless, prices remained below 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 gained a penny last week to $3.47 per gallon.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil declined last week to $99.35 (+7.2% y/y) but remained below the $108.67 high in early September. Yesterday, prices fell further to $98.08 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices also fell last week to $108.07 per barrel (-0.2% y/y) and yesterday continued downward to $106.53 per barrel.

Natural gas prices fell sharply last week to $4.55 per mmbtu. Yesterday, prices held steady at $4.58 per mmbtu.

The demand for all petroleum products slipped 0.8% y/y last week. Gasoline demand fell 1.5% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, improved 6.4% y/y while distillate demand fell 4.3% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products fell 2.9% 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 03/17/14 03/10/14 03/03/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.55 3.51 3.48 -4.0 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 99.35 103.07 102.77 7.2 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.55 6.13 5.21 20.9 3.73 2.75 3.99
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