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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Continue to Rise
by Tom Moeller  March 29, 2016

Regular gasoline prices rose, on average, last week to $2.07 per gallon (-15.6% y/y) from $2.01 in the prior week. It was the highest price in four months, 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 also rose to $2.05 per gallon.

WTI crude oil costs increased to $40.15 per barrel last week (-17.5% y/y) from $38.32 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices eased to $39.39 per barrel. Prices remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices improved w/w to $40.67 per barrel, but eased to $40.29 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas were stable last week at $1.76 per mmbtu (-35.2% y/y), and were $1.73 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 7.0% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 1.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 5.0% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 8.5% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 3.8% 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 03/28/16 03/21/16 03/14/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.07 2.01 1.96 -15.6 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 40.15 38.32 37.84 -17.5 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.76 1.77 1.61 -35.2 2.62 4.37 3.7
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