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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Continue Moving Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 5, 2015

Gasoline prices increased 9 cents last week to an average $2.66 per gallon at the pump, the highest level since early-December and up nearly one-third versus the late-January low of $2.04. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price rose last week to $2.55 per gallon. Spot-market gasoline prices rose to an average $1.89 per gallon from an early-January low of $1.28.

Higher WTI crude oil costs are helping to generate the gasoline price increase. During the week ended April 31, crude oil prices rose to an average $57.99 per barrel (-42.3% y/y), up from the March low of $44.39. This remained most expensive since the second week of December. Yesterday, prices rose further to $58.93 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 high of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, gained last week to $55.71 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices increased to $63.49 per barrel last week (-41.8% y/y) and were $64.62 yesterday.

Natural gas prices held at $2.56 (-46.4% y/y) per mmbtu during the week ended April 31 and slipped to $2.72 yesterday.

Gasoline demand increased 2.6% y/y as of mid-month. Demand for all petroleum products rose 4.4% y/y. Gasoline inventories grew 7.5% y/y, but they have fallen sharply during the last two months. Inventories of all petroleum products increased 9.3% y/y and their level continues to surge.

The energy price data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The petroleum demand and inventory figures are from the Oil & Gas Journal Weekly. These data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY database. The daily figures are in DAILY and greater detail on prices, demand and production, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 05/04/15 04/27/15 04/20/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.66 2.57 2.49 -27.7 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 57.99 56.60 54.78 -42.3 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.56 2.56 2.58 -46.4 4.37 3.73 2.7
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