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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Post Minimal Increase; Crude Oil Declines
by Tom Moeller  June 2, 2015

Gasoline prices nudged up last week to an average $2.78 per gallon at the pump (-24.7% y/y) from $2.77 in the prior week. It remained the highest level of prices since early-December and prices were roughly one-third higher versus the low of $2.04 late in January. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices. The seasonally adjusted price of $2.64 per gallon was 17.8% higher than the early-February low, less of an increase than at the pump since prices typically rise ahead of the summer driving season. Spot market gasoline prices were little-changed w/w at an average $1.92 per gallon (-32.4% y/y) but they were down slightly from the high early in the week.

WTI crude oil costs again moved lower last week to an average $58.20 per barrel (-44.0% y/y) but remained up versus the March low of $44.39. This remained the most expensive price since the second week of December. Yesterday, prices reversed course and increased to $60.20 per barrel. These prices compare to a June 2014 high of $107.95. The seasonally adjusted price, generated by Haver Analytics, slipped last week to $57.36 per barrel. Brent crude oil prices declined last week to $61.57 per barrel.

Natural gas prices declined to $2.76 per mmbtu last week (-38.8% y/y) and fell further to $2.60 yesterday.

Gasoline inventories grew 4.3% y/y while inventories of all petroleum products increased 8.6% y/y. Gasoline demand increased 1.6% y/y while demand for all petroleum products rose 3.5% y/y.

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.

What have we learned from the crises of the last 20 years? is the title of yesterday's speech by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and it can be found here.

Weekly Energy Prices 06/01/15 05/26/15 05/18/15 Y/Y% 2014 2013 2012
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.78 2.77 2.74 -24.7 2.30 3.33 3.30
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 58.20 58.95 60.01 -44.0 93.64 97.96 94.20
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 2.76 2.98 2.88 -38.8 4.37 3.73 2.7
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