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Economy in Brief

Energy Prices Little Changed in Christmas Week
by Sandy Batten  December 29, 2020

• Gasoline prices edged up two cents.

• Crude oil prices fell 17 cents.

• Natural gas prices slipped three cents.

The price of regular gasoline edged up to $2.24 per gallon (-12.8% y/y) in the week ended December 28 from $2.22 per gallon in the previous week. This was the highest price since mid-March. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose just one cent to $2.41 per gallon last week, also its highest level since mid-March.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil price slipped to an average of $47.79 per barrel (-22.0% y/y) in the week ended December 25 from $47.96 per barrel in the previous week. The price was $47.62 yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil edged up to $51.19 per barrel (-24.0% y/y) last week from $51.15 per barrel in the previous week. The price was $50.89 yesterday.

The price of natural gas fell to $2.67/mmbtu (+31.5% y/y) in the week ended December 25 from $2.70/mmbtu in the previous week. Prices have been generally moving up from $1.52/mmbtu since the third week of June though they have been in a range over the past month. The price slid to $2.39/mmbtu yesterday.

In the four weeks ended December 18, gasoline demand declined 13.8% y/y. Total petroleum product demand fell 8.7% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries was down 15.4% y/y over the past four weeks. Gasoline inventories edged down 0.6% y/y while inventories of all petroleum products rose 5.0% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in the week ended December 18 was 30.1 days, down 0.1 day from the previous week.

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 12/28/20 12/21/20 12/14/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.24 2.22 2.16 -12.8 2.57 2.27 2.47
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 47.79 47.96 46.05 -22.0 56.91 64.95 50.87
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.67 2.70 2.44 31.5 2.57 3.18 2.99
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