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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline and Crude Oil Prices Backpedal
by Tom Moeller  May 6, 2014

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline declined to $3.68 last week (+4.1% y/y. The drop reversed the prior week's rise but prices still were not far from 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 fell to $3.44 per gallon last week and reversed two weeks of increase.

The per barrel cost of WTI crude oil fell back last week to $100.32 (+11.8% y/y), its lowest price since late-March. The seasonally adjusted price of $92.02 per barrel was the lowest since May of last year. Yesterday prices declined further to $99.48. Brent crude oil prices slipped last week to $108.96 (7.2% y/y) and yesterday were $108.39 per barrel.

Natural gas prices improved w/w to $4.79 per mmbtu (13.0% y/y), but still were at nearly the lowest level in two months.

The demand for all petroleum products declined 0.6% y/y last week. Gasoline demand increased 2.1% y/y. Residual fuel oil needs, used for heating, declined 14.5% y/y while distillate demand improved 7.5% y/y. Inventories of crude oil and petroleum products were off 1.2% y/y and gasoline inventories fell 2.0% 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 05/05/14 04/28/14 04/21/14 Y/Y% 2013 2012 2011
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 3.68 3.71 3.68 4.1 3.51 3.62 3.52
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 100.32 102.11 103.95 7.0 97.95 94.20 95.14
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA) 4.79 4.65 13.0 3.73 2.75 3.99
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