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Economy in Brief

U.S. Energy Prices Strengthen
by Tom Moeller  May 10, 2022

• Gasoline prices jump to record high.

• Crude oil prices increase sharply.

• Natural gas prices rise to highest level since February 2021.

Retail gasoline prices increased to $4.33 per gallon in the week ended May 9 (46.2% y/y) after rising to $4.18 per gallon the prior week. Haver Analytics adjusts the gasoline price series for normal seasonal variation. The seasonally adjusted price rose ten cents to a record $4.35 per gallon.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil strengthened to $106.71 per barrel (63.9% y/y) in the week ended May 6 after slipping to $102.84 per barrel in the prior week. These compare to a high of $113.33 averaged in the fourth week of March. Yesterday, the price rose to $105.17 per barrel. The average price of Brent crude oil increased to $109.08 per barrel (60.8%) from $105.29 the prior week. It was the highest price in five weeks. The price was $107.37 per barrel yesterday.

The price of natural gas surged in the week ended May 6 to $8.04/mmbtu (172.5% y/y) after easing to $6.81 in the previous week. The price has risen from a low of $1.52/mmbtu averaged in the third week of June 2020. Yesterday, the price strengthened to $7.30/mmbtu.

In the four weeks ended April 29, gasoline demand fell 1.7% y/y. Demand for all petroleum products declined 2.6% y/y. Growth in crude oil input to refineries fell to 3.9% y/y, its weakest since the second week of February. Gasoline inventories decreased 3.1% y/y while crude oil inventories declined 13.7% y/y.

The supply of gasoline inventories in the week ended April 29 was 26.0 days, down from 30.4 days three months earlier. The supply of crude oil rose to 26.7 days but has been trending sideways all year.

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.

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