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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Product Prices Are Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  December 21, 2021

• Gasoline prices slip.

• Crude oil prices ease.

• Natural gas prices improve.

Retail gasoline prices fell to $3.30 per gallon (+48.2% y/y) in the week ended December 20 after declining to $3.32 per gallon in the previous week. Prices were at the lowest level since the second week of October. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose to $3.56 per gallon. Typically, gasoline prices decline this time of year.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil edged 0.2% lower w/w (+48.4% y/y) to $71.17 per barrel in the week ended December 17 from $71.31 per barrel in the previous week. Yesterday, the price declined to $68.23 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil eased 1.1% w/w (+44.6% y/y) to $73.94 per barrel last week from $74.80 per barrel in the prior week. The price was $71.76 per barrel yesterday.

Natural gas prices rose 3.3% w/w to $3.79/mmbtu (+40.4% y/y) in the week ended December 17 after declining to $3.67/mmbtu in the prior week. Prices remained down from the $5.87/mmbtu high in the second week of October. Yesterday, the price improved to $3.91/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended December 10, gasoline demand increased 15.4% y/y, up from 6.4% y/y growth early in October. Demand for all petroleum products rose an improved 12.6% y/y in the latest week. Crude oil input to refineries rose 10.2% y/y. Gasoline inventories fell 8.5% y/y, while crude oil inventories declined 9.8% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ending December 10 of 23.9 days remained down sharply from the recent high of 32.9 days in the third week of February. The supply of crude oil fell to 27.3 days, the lowest level in seven weeks. It stood well below the recent high of 41.8 days in the second week of March.

These data are reported by the Energy Information Administration of 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 12/20/21 12/13/21 12/06/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Retail Gasoline ($ per Gallon, Regular, Monday) 3.30 3.32 3.34 48.2 2.24 2.57 2.27
Light Sweet Crude Oil, WTI ($ per bbl, Previous Week's Average) 71.17 71.31 66.90 48.4 39.43 56.91 64.95
Natural Gas ($/mmbtu, LA, Previous Week's Average) 3.79 3.67 4.32 40.4 2.03 2.57 3.18
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