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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Continue Upward
by Tom Moeller  April 29, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline increased to $3.71 last week, up 5.5% y/y. The price is close to the $3.78 per gallon peak reached in February of last year. To account for seasonal volatility, Haver Analytics constructs factors for adjustment of pump prices. The adjusted cost of gasoline rose to $3.49 per gallon last week but has been moving sideways since the end of December.

The demand for all petroleum products declined 1.6% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 1.8%. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 36.4% y/y while distillate demand improved 5.2% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products slipped 0.9% y/y.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil fell back last week to $102.00 (+11.8% y/y) and remained below the $108.67 high in early September. The seasonally adjusted price of $94.07 per barrel is at the low end of its range since mid-2013. Yesterday prices declined further to 100.84. Brent crude oil prices rose last week to $109.38 (8.3% y/y) but yesterday slipped to $108.64 per barrel.

Natural gas prices improved w/w to $4.65 per mmbtu (9.4% y/y), but still were nearly the lowest level in two months.

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 04/28/14 04/21/14 04/14/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.71 3.68 3.65 5.5 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 102.00 103.95 102.72 11.8 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) -- 4.65 4.63 9.4 3.73 2.75 3.99
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