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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Continue to Rise
by Tom Moeller  March 15, 2016

Regular gasoline prices added to recent gains, and rose last week to $1.96 per gallon (-20.1% y/y) from $1.84 in the prior week. It was the highest price since mid-January, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price rose to $1.97 per gallon.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $37.84 per barrel last week (-20.7% y/y) from $34.45 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices dipped to $37.18 per barrel from $40.38 on Friday. Prices remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices increased w/w to $40.35 per barrel, but slipped to $39.56 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas improved slightly last week to $1.61 per mmbtu (-41.4% y/y), and were $1.68 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand strengthened 7.0% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 1.1% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 4.4% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 8.8% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 3.6% y/y during the last four weeks.

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 03/14/16 03/07/16 02/29/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 1.96 1.84 1.78 -20.1 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 37.84 34.45 32.02 -20.7 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.61 1.57 1.77 -41.4 2.62 4.37 3.73
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