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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Are Stable; Crude Oil Declines
by Tom Moeller  April 12, 2016

Regular gasoline prices remained fairly steady last week at $2.07 per gallon (-14.1% y/y) versus $2.08 in the prior week, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The price compares to a low of $1.72 in February, but remained down from a 2014 high of $3.71 per gallon. Haver Analytics constructs factors adjusting for the seasonal variation in pump prices, and the adjusted price eased to $2.05 per gallon. Spot market gasoline prices increased to $1.32 from $1.27 in the prior week. That's up from a low of $0.89 in early February.

WTI crude oil costs fell to $36.71 per barrel last week (-29.1% y/y) after declining to $37.68 in the prior week. Yesterday, prices rebounded to $40.36 per barrel, but remained well below the peak of $113.93 in April 2011. Brent crude oil prices were stable w/w at $39.78 per barrel (-29.6% y/y), and strengthened to $42.79 yesterday. The price was $27.73 in late January.

Prices for natural gas continued to move higher last week, increasing to $1.92 per mmbtu (-26.8% y/y). Prices were $1.94 yesterday.

Last week, gasoline demand increased 4.2% y/y, while demand for all petroleum products improved 1.5% y/y. Gasoline inventories rose 6.1% y/y, while inventories of all petroleum products gained 7.4% y/y. Crude oil production (input to refineries) increased 3.0% 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 04/11/16 04/04/16 03/28/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular) 2.07 2.08 2.07 -14.1 2.03 2.30 3.33
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl., WSJ) 36.71 37.38 40.15 -29.1 48.90 93.64 97.96
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, WSJ) 1.92 1.83 1.76 -26.8 2.62 4.37 3.73
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