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Economy in Brief

U.S. Gasoline & Crude Oil Prices Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  March 16, 2021

• Gasoline prices rise by one-quarter y/y.

• Crude oil prices touch 2019 high.

• Natural gas prices drop again.

The price of regular gasoline strengthened to $2.85 per gallon (26.9% y/y) in the week ended March 15, its highest level since May 2019. The price has increased from a low of $2.11 per gallon in November of last year. The spot market price rose to $2.02 per gallon (72.2% y/y) in the week prior. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose to $2.94 per gallon last week from $2.90 in the previous week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices increased last week at an average of $65.02 per barrel in the week ended March 12 versus $62.29 per barrel in the previous week. Prices have doubled y/y. The price was $65.39 per barrel yesterday. The average price of Brent crude oil rose to $68.43 per barrel (95.7% y/y) last week from $65.74 in the previous week. The price rose to $68.84 per barrel yesterday.

The price of natural gas fell to $2.65/mmbtu (+41.7% y/y) in the week ended March 12 after falling to $2.79/mmbtu in the previous week. Yesterday, the price eased further to $2.58/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended March 5, gasoline demand fell 7.7% y/y while demand for all petroleum products declined 14.6% y/y. Crude oil input to refineries fell 21.6% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 6.2% y/y. The supply of gasoline in inventory in the week ended March 5 was 28.5 days, the least since the end of November.

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 03/15/21 03/08/21 03/01/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 2.85 2.77 2.71 26.9 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 65.02 62.29 62.33 101.1 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 2.65 2.79 2.86 41.7 2.03 2.57 3.18
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