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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Surge as Texas Freeze Limits Supply
by Tom Moeller  February 23, 2021

• Gasoline prices jump with refinery shutdowns.

• Oil prices surge also as production is cut back.

• Natural gas output is notably reduced with deep freeze in South.

The price of regular gasoline strengthened to $2.63 per gallon (6.8% y/y) in the week ended February 22, its highest level since January 2020. The price increased from $2.50 per gallon in the previous week. The spot market price surged to $1.83 per gallon in week prior and also equaled last year's high. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose to $2.83 per gallon last week from $2.71 in the previous week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices also strengthened to an average of $60.23 per barrel (13.4% y/y) in the week ended February 19 from $58.54 per barrel in the previous week. This was the highest price since early-January 2020. The price rose to $61.49 per barrel yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil increased to $63.50 per barrel (8.6% y/y) last week from $61.31 in the previous week. The price rose to $65.15 yesterday.

The price of natural gas soared for a second week, rising to $12.18/mmbtu (509.0% y/y) in the week ended February 19 from $4.63/mmbtu in the previous week. This is the highest price since July 2008. Yesterday, the price pulled back to $3.16/mmbtu as pipelines opened up again.

In the four weeks ended February 12, gasoline demand fell 5.7% y/y while demand for all petroleum products rose 5.4% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 8.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 0.8% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in the week ended February 12 was 32.3 days, up from a recent low of 26.1 days in early-October.

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 are in USENERGY.

Weekly Energy Prices 02/22/21 02/15/21 02/08/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.63 2.50 2.46 6.8 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 60.23 58.54 55.41 13.4 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 12.18 4.63 3.12 509.0 2.03 2.57 3.18
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