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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline Prices Remain High; Crude Oil Costs Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  September 25, 2018

Gasoline prices, at $2.84 per gallon last week (10.1% y/y), were unchanged from the prior week and have been roughly steady since May. Haver Analytics constructs factors to adjust for the marked seasonal variation in prices. The seasonally-adjusted gasoline price rose w/w to $2.76 per gallon from $2.73.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices increased last week to $70.29 per barrel (40.2% y/y) as they closed in on the $73.71 peak reached early in July. Yesterday, the price rose to $72.08. Brent crude oil prices were little changed w/w at $78.64 (40.4% y/y) per barrel last week. The price was $81.33 yesterday.

Natural gas prices improved to $2.99/mmbtu (-3.2% y/y) last week. The price was $3.04 yesterday.

In the four-weeks ending September 21, gasoline demand increased 2.0% y/y; total petroleum product demand rose 4.9% y/y. Gasoline inventories strengthened 8.3% y/y, but inventories of all petroleum products declined 4.3% y/y due to a one-quarter decline in residual fuel oil inventories. Crude oil input to refineries strengthened 14.7% y/y in the last four weeks.

These data are reported by the U.S. Department of Energy. The price data can be found in Haver's WEEKLY and DAILY databases. Greater detail on prices, as well as the demand, production and inventory data, along with regional breakdowns, are in OILWKLY.

Weekly Energy Prices 09/24/18 09/17/18 09/10/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon Regular, Monday Price) 2.84 2.84 2.83 10.1 2.47 2.31 2.03
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 70.29 68.95 68.52 40.2 50.87 43.22 48.90
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.99 2.89 2.90 -3.2 2.96 2.49 2.62
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